The collapse of healthcare services round the world, the behaviour of some of the “agencies” enforcing quarantining, and high levels of patient harm during the COVID-19 pandemic, undoubtedly warrant a strong response. We need a new agenda for change if we are to address the current threat to patient centred healthcare and patient safety globally. Kawaldip Sehmi, CEO International Alliance of Patient Organizations, summarises the key messages and actions from the 9th biennial Global Patients Congress 2020,
Take home messages and a call for action
Over the course of two days debate many issues were raised and important messages sent out. These included the following:
- WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufactures (a non-State Actor in Official Relationship with WHO) reassured patients that all WHO Member States and all of the pharmaceutical industry are cooperating and sharing knowledge and resources as never before.
- Strengthening health systems, especially primary health is a priority to lead the effort to vaccinate 8 billion people over a short time span. Patient engagement is vitally important here to address both the infodemic and vaccine hesitation, and help ensure vulnerable patients are vaccinated quickly
- When effective vaccines come on stream regulators such as the FDA and EMA must maintain their strong stance on patient engagement and co-creation of guidelines and the African Medicines Agency should adopt the same approach
- The World Health Organization’s Global Action on Patients Safety and the WHO Flagship Decade of Patient safety 20200-30 be integrated into all covid-19 control systems and the full spectrum of healthcare
- Patient engagement and co creation in health systems must be formalised by legal and policy means.