• Ministries of Health and Governments: How Do They Effect and Influence Patient Safety Issues?

    Ivo Kocur, MD, MA, MSc, MBA, Medical Officer, World Health Organization, explained that the WHO is governed by the ministries of health of member states. In 2002, one hundred and ninety-four members acknowledged the need for and endorsed a resolution on patient safety. Since then, a number of tools and documents have been developed at the national as well as international level.

    This year, high-level political representatives (not medical representatives) of member states convened to discuss patient safety and what needs to be done. It was proposed that September 17 should be identified as Patient Safety Day, although not all countries have recognized the need for this yet. Subsequently, WHO issued “Patient Safety: Making Health Care Safer,” a 20-page brochure that illustrates the importance of safe care for everyone.

    More specific to ophthalmology is the WHO’s “Eye Care Service Assessment Tool” and the global action plan ”Universal Eye Health: A Global Action Plan 2014–2019.” The tool can help assess the status and functionality of a country’s eye care service based on six aspects of the WHO framework for strengthening health systems.

    The WHO also issued a series of brochures called WHO Global Patient Safety Challenge, the most recent of which is on medication safety. WHO can engage in dialogue with ophthalmic societies on this new initiative.