WHO launches patient safety curriculum guide for health educators

News release

MANILA, 19 October 2011—The World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific today launched a patient safety curriculum guide for health educators to help stem the millions of deaths that occur globally each year from unsafe patient care and practices.

The launch was the first of a series that will be held in all six WHO regions. Besides the Western Pacific, they are: Africa, the Americas, the Eastern Mediterranean, Europe and. South-East Asia.

The launch of the Multi-professional Patient Safety Curriculum Guide was held at the Manila Marriott Hotel in collaboration with the Philippines Alliance for Patient Safety and the Philippine College of Surgeons and with the participation of officials from WHO Headquarters in Geneva and health officials and educators from Australia, Cambodia, Japan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Singapore and Viet Nam.

A WHO study showed that medical curricula lack patient safety concepts and practices, which are necessary to significantly reduce the occurrence of medical errors and adverse events by health-care providers.

In 2008, WHO held technical consultations with experts worldwide to develop a Patient Safety Curriculum Guide for Medical Schools. WHO and partner agencies later expanded the concept of a patient-care curriculum guide to cover not only physicians, but dentists, midwives, nurses and pharmacists as well.

The curriculum guide provides direction to educators and develops a variety of ideas and methods for teaching patient safety to undergraduate and postgraduate students. It also places attention on priority patient-safety concepts to improve learning about patient safety by health-care professionals and students.

The curriculum guide is divided into two parts. Part A is the teacher's guide, covering knowledge, skills and behaviours necessary for teaching patient safety. Part B tackles key patient safety learning requirements for safer practice.

Pilot studies to test the curriculum guide were carried out in Australia and the Philippines, highlighting patient safety as a priority.

The curriculum guide will be translated into different languages. Some countries in the Western Pacific Region are already integrating and teaching patient safety in medical schools using various approaches, such as applying problem-based learning and multidisciplinary team-based learning. Others are engaging students in patient safety work with hands-on experience to better prepare them for clinical practice.

To date, more than 2800 health-care facilities from 19 countries in the Region are implementing hand hygiene practices to prevent health care-associated infections. More than 600 hospitals from 14 countries in the Region are using the WHO Safe Surgery Check List to sustain surgical practices for patient safety.

For more information, please contact Dr Madeleine de Rosas-Valera, Technical Officer, Patient Safety, Health Resource Development, at +63 2 528 9334.