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 Table of Contents 
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 579-580  

Patient safety joins hands with health worker safety: The WHO charter at an opportune moment

Department of Orthopaedics, Government Medical College, Haldwani, Uttarakhand, India

Date of Submission08-Oct-2020
Date of Decision02-Dec-2020
Date of Acceptance05-Dec-2020
Date of Web Publication30-Jan-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ganesh S Dharmshaktu
Associate Professor, Department of Orthopaedics, Government Medical College, Haldwani - 263 139, Uttarakhand
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_2079_20

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How to cite this article:
Dharmshaktu GS. Patient safety joins hands with health worker safety: The WHO charter at an opportune moment. J Family Med Prim Care 2021;10:579-80

How to cite this URL:
Dharmshaktu GS. Patient safety joins hands with health worker safety: The WHO charter at an opportune moment. J Family Med Prim Care [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Mar 2];10:579-80. Available from: https://www.jfmpc.com/text.asp?2021/10/1/579/307971

Dear editor,

We read with interest a well-researched and relevant article entitled “Protecting Indian health workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic” by Behera et al.[1] It touches a raw nerve ending of what constitutes a perennial problem that has only been compounded by disruptions in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the factors affecting safety of Indian healthcare personnel stem from systemic failures on part of administrative and state machinery while the healthcare teams continuously perform exemplary service in adverse working environment without recognition or reward. The multi-collaborative reforms are warranted to address various issues critical to improve safety and work environment of healthcare workforce and thus impact healthcare outcomes in positive way. In a pleasant coincidence, the World Patient Safety Day 2020 (September 17) this year witnessed an initiative endorsed by World Health Organization (WHO) highlighting health workers' safety. WHO's Health Worker Safety Charter calls for safe working conditions, training, pay and respect that is well deserved and demanded.[2] COVID-19 has underlined the importance of how health workers are key pegs in the healthcare machinery, safety of which ultimately translates into patient safety. The proposed five actions are important unmet needs requiring emergent efforts. These include protection from violence, improvement of mental health, protection from physical and biological hazards along with advancing national programs on health worker safety and connecting health worker safety to existing patient safety policies. It is also to be noted that the families of healthcare personnel are also subjected to the effect and aftermath of dangerous public health tragedy like COVID-19 pandemic. Hidden complications like psychological stress of exposure to high-risk environment, long duty hours, little rest and social stigmatization are major problems that attract less recognition but silently wreak havoc on individual and social level. About one in four health worker reported depression, anxiety and insomnia during COVID-19 pandemic.[3] Burn out and suicides are unwanted and potential implications of chronic exposure of bad working conditions. It is an opportune moment to highlight the need for health worker's safety on World Patient Safety Day 2020 with theme “Health Worker Safety: A Priority for Patient Safety” and the slogan “Safe health workers, Safe patients“.[4] The World Patient Safety Day 2020 goals are framed to improve health worker safety all through the year. Among the five key goals are: prevention of sharp injuries, reporting and analyzing serious safety related incidents, improving use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Apart from these, reducing work-related stress or burnout and promoting zero tolerance to violence against health care worker are important goals to meet. Dissatisfaction, burnout, depression, low wages are other critical issues apart from diverse occupational hazards healthcare worker confront on daily basis.[5] As primary care level centers are at receiving end of disparity of even basic resources, remedial measures are required through dedicated systemic change with strong intent and implementation. Involvement of both patient and healthcare staff is warranted to make healthcare experience better and this can be done even at primary care level. This is but reasonable to believe that all these initiatives would require a satisfied and motivated healthcare worker. Investment in better technology, training of human resource and research encouragement in patient safety issues are instrumental to achieve this objective in primary care level.[6] A well-trained, satisfied and robust workforce is an indispensable requirement, and it is high time governments and stakeholders make health worker safety a formidable resolve to make India excel in core healthcare milestones. These dependable assets are best investments for not only the current or future pandemics but more so in normal days in between.



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There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Behera D, Praveen D, Behera MR. Protecting Indian health workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic. J Family Med Prim Care 2020;9:4541-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
  [Full text]  
Keep helth workers safe to keep patient safe: WHO. Available from: www.who.int/news/detail/17-09-2020-keep-health-workers-safe-to-keep-patients-safe-who. [Last accessed on 2020 Oct 07].  Back to cited text no. 2
Pappa S, Ntella V, Giannakas T, Giannakoulis VG, Papoutsi E, Katsaounou P. Prevalence of depression, anxiety and insomnia among healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Brain Behav Immun 2020;88:901-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
World Patient Safety Day. Available from: https://www.wh.int/campaigns/world-patient-safety-day/2020. [Last accessed on 2020 Oct 07].  Back to cited text no. 4
Mohanty A, Kabi A, Mohanty AP. Health problems in healthcare workers – A review. J Family Med Prim Care 2009:8:2568-72.  Back to cited text no. 5
Kuriakose R, Aggarwal A, Sohi RK, Goel R, Rashmi NC, Gambhir RS. Pateint safety in primary and outpatient health care. J Family Med Prim Care 2020;9:7-11.  Back to cited text no. 6
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