Clean Care is Safer Care

Private Organizations for Patient Safety (POPS)

With the aim of engaging with private industry companies, with a focus on corporate social responsibility, the WHO Service Delivery and Safety Department launched Private Organizations for Patient Safety (POPS) in May 2012. This took place on the occasion of the WHO SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands annual day after a number of years spent establishing this collaborative model and calling for interested parties to 'sign up'; those with a focus on hand hygiene in the first instance. POPS is managed under a password protected web based platform to allow proactive interaction with any committed private industry companies, such as manufacturers and distributors of products for hand hygiene and injection safety, and holds face-to-face meetings at defined times in a year. Key is that interaction and collaborative project working is facilitated by WHO HQ or WHO Collaborating Centres. Regular, focused engagement allows for a coherent and equitable means of sharing information and for progressing the altruistic aim of the collaborative.

The long term aim is to harness industry strengths to align and improve implementation of WHO recommendations in different parts of the world, including in least developed countries. The goal of the collaboration is to benefit patients, and not the participants in the platform. The expected public health benefits from working together with industry will be a reduction in health-care associated infections/harm through improvements in practices based on WHO recommendations.

For hand hygiene, based on the evidence from the WHO guidelines on hand hygiene in healthcare (2009), the focus is on:

  • Increasing education and awareness on the importance of hand hygiene in health care;
  • Improving access to commodities (alcohol-based handrub, water, soap, towels).

For injection safety, a focus on this area of work will be posted here shortly.

How to be part of POPS

The intention is to facilitate widest participation possible. However, in order to participate in this platform, an interested party (company) must meet the following criteria to ensure that their work upholds principles and values acceptable to WHO:

  • Be a company involved in developing, manufacturing, and/or distributing products for hand hygiene or injection safety, or be an umbrella association representing such companies (participation by developing country manufacturers is particularly encouraged)
  • Agree to sign up to the code of conduct issued by WHO
  • Agree to contribute to the WHO objective of advancing public health
  • Agree to make the entity's products (e.g. alcohol-based handrub, safety injection devices) available and accessible to the public sector of developing and developed countries in accordance with the WHO's commitment to affordable, safe health care for all, agree (i) to ensure that the active ingredients in the entity's hand hygiene products (for handrubbing or handwashing) meet national requirements in the country of manufacture/regional standards and WHO recommended criteria as published in WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care (e.g. in terms of alcohol concentration), (ii) to comply with current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) standards, (iii) to have auditable quality management systems, (iv) to meet WHO prequalification for immunization-related equipment
  • Agree to actively participate in the POPS web based forum and projects
  • Agree to collaborate with WHO in a manner consistent with the Organization's Guidelines on Interaction with Commercial Enterprises, including by refraining from using the WHO name and emblem for commercial or promotional purposes.

WHO retains the right to terminate an entity's participation in the platform if any of the above mentioned conditions are not respected.

Benefits of being part of POPS

The following benefits are expected to arise from the platform:

  • Member States
    • Reduced HAI burden/harm through improved standards including hand hygiene and injection safety product availability
    • More awareness on the need to reduce HAI/harm
    • Possible spin-offs for example improved infrastructure, such as clean water, waste management and general improvements in hygiene.
  • WHO
    • Private sector aligned with WHO goal of reducing HAI/harm from unsafe injections
    • Promotion/availability of products aligned with WHO messages
    • Continuous exchange of information and knowledge sharing
    • Low resource settings (developing countries) provided with access to safe products, with support for improved infrastructure and funded educational development projects.
  • Industry
    • Easy access to guidance from WHO on quality, correct messages, etc
    • Right to use the copyrighted slogan
    • Enhanced corporate image
    • Easy access to information on global availability of products and progress against this
    • Easy access to other relevant information from WHO and others involved in POPS

Related links

POPS - who we are and what we do