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Eye of Riyadh
Healthcare | Sunday 3 March, 2019 3:18 am |

Saudi Arabia to set a global example in patient safety

The Saudi Ministry of Health launched an application aimed at reducing diagnostic errors and enhancing patient safety on Saturday.
This was revealed by Saudi Health Minister Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah in his speech on the 4th Global Ministerial Patient Safety Summit, which opened at the Ritz Carlton on Saturday under the patronage of King Salman.
The application, called “Med Consult,” was launched in collaboration with the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
According to Al-Rabiah, who extended the king’s warm greetings to the participants, the app is one of the important outcomes of the summit.
“It is an application for medical consultations through which health practitioners in low and middle-income countries and consultants from around the world can visually communicate and share experiences,” the Saudi minister said.
Al-Rabiah added that the Jeddah Declaration on Patient Safety would also be launched at the end of the summit. “We hope that this declaration could be a continuation of our efforts to promote patient safety internationally and a practical tool to improve safety in health sector.
He added that the Kingdom has taken great strides in improving health care and enhancing patient safety. “This is also a key health component of the National Transformation Program, which will help us achieve our Vision 2030 goals,” he said.
For his part, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the UK and former health secretary Jeremy Hunt reviewed the most important patient safety issues in his country. Hunt cited a number of heartbreaking stories of patients who had suffered due to medical errors. He highlighted how his former ministry learnt from those experiences to prevent the further occurrence of such life-threatening errors.
“British health practitioners are now aware enough to avoid medical errors and consider the safety of their patients,” Hunt said.
He added that achieving goals in the field of patient safety is only possible with the participation of the community, especially those who have experienced mistakes. He called on everyone to shed light on the humanitarian aspect, which is overlooked by some in many medical errors.
The British minister praised Saudi Arabia for hosting “the summit, which is considered an extraordinary one for the number of participants at the ministerial level, which reached about 49 countries, in addition to the participation of 25 ministers of health, along with a number of participants and speakers,” he said.
He also expressed his appreciation to the minister of health, Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah for the Saudi support at the WHO to help it achieve its goals in patient safety, praising the great cooperation between his country and Saudi Arabia in this field.
Director General of the Saudi Patient Safety Center (SPSC) and head of the summit’s organizing committee Dr. Abdulelah Hawsawi pointed out that over the past 20 years, efforts had been focusing on patient safety in developed countries, while they were weak in the middle and less developed countries. Therefore, he said, we will focus on supporting patient safety efforts in these less fortunate countries.
“Through workshops today and tomorrow, we look forward to working with experts to come up with a number of optimal solutions that can help us increase patient safety and reduce health care errors,” he added.
He concluded that the name of Saudi Arabia will globally be linked, in the near future, to positive efforts in supporting patient safety. “Next year, we will be presenting the Patient Safety Agenda at the G20 summit, and it will also support the safety of patients internationally,” Hawsawi said.
WHO regional director Dr. Ahmed Mandhari said that patient safety is not a luxury. “We should put special emphasis countries with low and middle income, place patients at the center of health care delivery and make their safety one of the essential standards of every health care system,” Mandhari said.
He added that as host to some of the world’s biggest emergencies, our region carries the largest burden of people in need of aid. “Current situation calls for developing appropriate interventions and tools to ensure patient safety during emergencies,” he said.
The first day of the summit saw eight workshops on ways to benefit from other health sectors in supporting patient safety. It also included the role of workforce, researches and digital health in supporting patient safety.
In preparation for the Jeddah Declaration, the conferees will announce on Sunday a number of recommendations to be presented to the health ministers participating in the summit.

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