Introducing the AFRO Guide for Developing National Patient Safety Policy & Strategic Plan

Lopa Basu

US Liaison for the WHO Service Delivery & Safety Department

As conceptual clarity on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) emerges, the health component requires a clear focus on the ‘how to’ of service delivery improvement. The convergence of the world of quality improvement and the world of Universal Health Coverage is vital. 

What can we learn from the MDG-era? Integration of diverse approaches towards sustainable sub-regional and national health system improvement efforts remains a critical need. This need must also be coupled with tangible tools to integrate and institutionalize these improvements efforts into policy. Locally-owned, context-specific policy tools can address the ‘how’ of such efforts to institutionalize improvements. One such example of a resource towards policy-level action to prioritize and improve service delivery particularly focuses on patient safety, the AFRO Guide for Developing National Patient Safety Policy & Strategic Plan

This tool aims to assist countries to develop comprehensive actions on patient safety including hand hygiene, healthcare waste management, and medication safety to name a few. It outlines steps for the development of comprehensive policies and strategies based on front-line experiences across Africa. This critical resource is an example of a policy tool co-developed through an “implementation informed” process. 

As highlighted by the then WHO Regional Director for Africa, countries are strongly encouraged to make use of this guide when developing new or revising the existing patient safety component of their national health policy and strategic plan. As we move into the SDG era, we need to explore sustainable approaches in health system improvements and refer to practical tools that address the ‘how to’ of developing national policies and strategies for effective service delivery. This is part of a critical and sustainable approach towards quality universal health coverage.

The AFRO Guide for Developing National Patient Safety Policy & Strategic Plan can be downloaded from the WHO website. Please share the guide widely.

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