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UN Agencys Checklist on Health Care Error

The WHO has issue a checklist for doctors and nurse to avoid common errors which effect 1in 10 patients. Basic mistakes like not washing hands by the health workers help spread disease to unexpected quarters.

The WHOs 9 solution is meant to improve patient safety around the world and lessen the number of health care related accidents that affect millions. Patient safety is a primary concern in both developed and developing countries.

The nine key points listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) include double-checking similar-sounding medication names, ensuring patients are correctly identified, and improving hand hygiene to avoid preventable infections.

Unsafe medical injections, with reused and unsterilised equipment, are believed to occur most often in South Asia, the Middle East and the Western Pacific, a region including China, Japan, Vietnam and Australia.

In sub-Saharan Africa, as many as 18 percent of injections are given with reused syringes or unsterilised needles, increasing the risk of hepatitis and HIV, the WHO said.

The list include to:

Improve hand hygiene of medical workers partly by making alcohol-based hand rubs widely available;

Ensure proper patient identification to guard against one person getting medicine intended for another or newborns being given to the wrong parents;

Ensure operations are performed on the right body parts;

Double-check similar-sounding medication names and resolve the problem of illegible prescriptions;

Ban reuse of needles to prevent transmission of viruses that cause AIDS and hepatitis;

Ensure medical workers communicate about patients' care and condition when passing care responsibility to other;

And control concentrated electrolyte solutions and avoid catheter and tubing connection problems.

According to Liam Donaldson, the head of the WHO's World Heal th Alliance, "Any of those things could kill or harm us, so, this isn't some remote idea that affects people who are patients in other parts of the world that we never hear about day-to-day. They could affect any one of us in this room, and that's really what this program is about, trying to reduce risk for health care everywhere for everyone."

Karen Timmons, president of a U.S. based patient safety organization that works with the WHO says "Worldwide, 1.4 million patients who enter the hospital each year actually end up sicker, because they acquire an infection while being treated for their original illness. In the United States, more people die from medical errors than losing their lives from traffic accidents, breast cancer or HIV/AIDS."

Though mistakes are done by medical professionals in the past simple steps and closer scrutiny can reduce them to quite an extent.


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