World Patient Safety Day 2021 (17 September): ‘Act now for safe and respectful childbirth!’

Background Information:

September 17th is celebrated as World Patient Safety Day to call for global solidarity and concerted action by all countries and international partners to improve patient safety.

The Day brings together patients, families, caregivers, communities, health workers, health care leaders and policy-makers to show their commitment to patient safety.

The resolution WHA 72.6 ‘Global action on patient safety’ recognizes patient safety as a global health priority and endorses the establishment of World Patient Safety Day to be observed annually on 17 September.

This year the theme is Safe Maternal and Newborn Care, and the slogan is ‘Act now for safe and respectful childbirth’.

Key Messages:

Women in pregnancy and around the time of childbirth

  • Attend all appointments during pregnancy and after childbirth for you and your baby
  • Be actively involved in your own care and the care of your baby 
  • Communicate openly with your health care team and feel free to ask questions and raise concerns, if any, about you or your baby
  • Secure support from a birth companion of your choice for childbirth, if you wish
  • Prepare mentally and physically for childbirth and the first few days after birth

Spouses or partners, families and communities

  • Support your spouse or partner during pregnancy and around the time of childbirth
  • Speak up for the rights of your loved ones to safe and respectful care during pregnancy and after childbirth
  • Follow safety precautions for COVID-19 and other public health hazards in the community and when you visit your health care facility
  • Get involved in community initiatives to support mothers, newborns and health workers
  • Play an active role and work with policy-makers to establish safer maternal and newborn services

Health workers

  • Strive to make childbirth a positive experience for all women and newborns by providing safe and quality care
  • Build trust and, engage and empower women in decision-making during childbirth
  • Apply safety measures during pregnancy, childbirth and the immediate postnatal period, such as medication safety, surgical safety, blood safety, radiation safety, medical device safety, sanitation, and infection prevention
  • Speak to your supervisor or colleague if you have concerns about the safety of childbirth or if a mother or baby is mistreated
  • Work together with your team members: strong teams lead to safer births

Health care leaders and facility managers

  • Invest in health worker safety, well-being, capacity and supportive supervision as a priority for safety in health care
  • Establish a safety culture in which health workers are not afraid to speak up about safety concerns as a basis for systems improvement
  • Promote an environment for childbirth that involves women in shared decision-making, maintaining their dignity, privacy and confidentiality, and preventing mistreatment
  • Ensure all births are attended by skilled birth personnel and encourage the presence of a birth companion of a woman’s choice
  • Establish adequate infrastructure, including water and electricity, and provide sufficient supplies for sanitation and infection prevention and control 

Policy-makers and programme managers

  • Invest in health systems: allocate sufficient resources for equitable access to safe and quality maternal and newborn health services
  • Build a competent and sufficient health workforce, supported by a safe and enabling work environment
  • Establish mechanisms to engage women, families, communities, health professional associations and civil society to establish safer maternal and newborn health services
  • Develop and implement up-to-date guidance on safe and respectful childbirth
  • Establish reporting and learning systems to guide improvements in maternal and neonatal care 

Useful Links:

Link to related WHO news release:

Link to World Patient Safety Day 2021 web page:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.