Improving patient safety in conflict-affected areas

On the first-ever World Patient Safety Day on 17 September 2019, WHO recognized the efforts of health-care workers in the north-western Syrian Arab Republic, which has been affected by intense conflict for over 8 years.

In support of improving the quality of health-care delivery, WHO launched a pilot infection prevention and control project in 30 Syrian health facilities in 2019. Initial assessment highlighted that 28 out of the 30 facilities were inadequately implementing the core components of infection prevention and control programmes according to WHO guidelines for acute health facilities. This emphasized the need to improve patient safety.

Globally, it is estimated that as many as 4 out of 10 patients are harmed in primary and ambulatory care settings; up to 80% of harm in these settings can be avoided. By investing in patient safety in health facilities, no matter how challenging the environment, WHO can save lives and improve the quality of care.