World Health Assembly: Focus on Patient Safety, Migrant Healthcare
The World Health Assembly discussed recognising patient safety as an important health priority.
The member states of the World Health Organisation (WHO) are currently meeting in Geneva, Switzerland for the 72nd World Health Assembly to discuss the prominent health issues plaguing global populations.
Over eight days, from May 20-28, the Assembly will tackle the theme of the year ‘Universal health coverage: leaving no-one behind’’.
Universal Healthcare for Refugees and Migrants
On May 27, the assembly brought forth a plan to “mainstream refugee and migrant health care” through a five-year global action plan.
In an effort to meet the healthcare needs of the growing migrant and refugee populations, the assembly aims to achieve universal healthcare for them and their host populations.
In 2017, the global number of migrants sits at 258 million, while the numbers of forcibly displayed people is 68.5 million. These vulnerable populations are deprived of a host of rights, including crucial healthcare services.
Key Priorities: Patient Safety, Universal Emergency Care
Earlier during the meet, on May 24, the Assembly discussed recognising patient safety as an important health priority. They called on WHO to help countries develop mechanisms to monitor and evaluate patient safety.
The member states have tentatively decided on creating a dedicated day for this, so 17 September would be noticed as World Patient Safety Day.
They also acknowledged the importance of investing in more efficient emergency services, and the states agreed on developing policies “for sustainable funding, governance and universal access to emergency care for all.”
States Pledge to Improve WASH services
Safe water, sanitation and hygiene or WASH was another vital discussion point with member states agreeing to a new resolution to improve WASH services within healthcare facilities.
According to the WHO, around 15% of patients worldwide – mostly in low-income countries – contract one or more infections in the hospital, because of poor hygiene standards.
The resolution lays out clear directives for both member states and the WHO. The states are to develop, implement and invest in WASH standards and services, while WHO should assist in reporting and mobilizing resources.
Another outcome of the day was that the assembly decided on a revised version of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11).
Like the name suggests, this was the eleventh revision to the charter, which deals with identifying global health trends and statistics and is the standard for reporting on diseases and health issues.
ICD-11 is to come into effect on 1 January, 2022.
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