News from our PFPS Champions
A half yearly round-up of news - December 2009
MEXICAN PFPS WORKSHOP
Patients for Patients Safety’s IV regional workshop was held in the Tecnológico de Monterrey Campus, México City, on 21-23 September 2009. The event was part of the second International Week of Innovation and Quality in Health, where the results of IBEAS (International Study on the prevalence of adverse events in Latin America) were presented. This event brought together some excellent diverse visions, approaches and efforts towards patient safety in the region, each of the participants performed outstanding presentations.
Antonio Heras’s from ‘Yes-quality of México’ gave a great opening for our event with a moving speech, where he showed his interest in patient engagement and his concern about patient safety in our country. The Module, “Patient Safety: A priority for Nursing”, was facilitated by Cristina Cometto, who leads the Panamerican Nurse’s Network, and she gave an excellent presentation and also shared her commitment to the prevention of adverse events through partnership with the Panamerican Patient’s Network.
Evangelina Vasquez Curiel, PFPS Champion Mexico, spoke about the Panamerican Patients for Patient Safety network’s creation and strategic model. Denice Klavano, of PFPS Canada explained modifications that have been made in Canada, for example, health professionals have to apologize and give explanations when an adverse event happens. Claudia Cattivera’s participation showed that it is possible to create strong alliances between patient organizations and doctors, and Mario Ríos explained a fundamental part of the patient movement regarding human rights.
Denmark PFPS workshop
Reported by Katrine Kirk and Birgit Hartoft, PFPS Champions Denmark
Patients for Patient Safety in Denmark have doubled their numbers at a recent official PFPS in-country workshop. We are standing taller and speaking louder than ever. We believe that our joint efforts will have a significant impact on the Danish Health Care sector in the next few years.
In April 2007 the first Danish in-country workshop was held for 15 patients and caregivers who had been touched by medical harm. We joined forces to raise the medical community’s awareness of how listening to and collaborating with patients can improve the safety and quality of healthcare. It has been a journey of trials and tribulations, but also of triumphs when our contributions have been welcomed and acted upon. On 5 – 6 September 2009, nine new PFPS champions joined the established network at a WHO workshop. Here, we got to know each others’ stories and learn about patient safety work in Denmark.
We spent the better part of a day simply sharing our stories of medical harm. We discussed the issues of how to present the stories to health professionals if we want to move them at a personal level and motivate them to change unsafe practices. There was also a presentation from a man involved in raising awareness of traffic safety issues. It was useful to hear about how voluntary “safety champions”, who had been disabled in traffic accidents, have campaigned to change the attitudes of young people.
The whole Danish champion network will continue to meet for a full day every three months. We all participate in an annual patient safety conference in Denmark. Between these meetings, we team up in smaller groups to work on specific projects. In 2010, we will help the Danish Society for Patient Safety to launch a number of initiatives aimed at raising awareness of patient safety in the general public. We will also continue visiting hospitals, nursing schools and conferences to speak up in honor of patients who have been harmed and on behalf of future patients. It has taken some time, but the health sector has realized that we are here, and here to be used.
RATIONAL DRUG USE INDONESIA
Wati Pujiarto, PFPS Champion Indonesia
Wati Pujiarto, Patients for Patient Safety Champion from Indonesia has been leading a public campaign to raise awareness of irrational drug use in Indonesia, calling for an end to the practice of parcelling ground-up drug mixtures to treat paediatric conditions.
The mixtures, known as ‘puyers’ are often prescribed for children when not needed, which not only can be ineffective and unsafe for the child, but can lead to the overuse of antibiotics and steroids which can lead to drug resistance. Another risk is the mixing of many drugs at any one time, where adverse drug to drug interactions can occur.
The main reasons these practices have continued is down to convenience, culture and money. Wati has been carrying out a study into prescribing practices, and one of the findings is that doctors rarely informed parents about the cause of a given ailment, focusing on the symptoms rather than the cause. Prescribing ‘puyers’ has become part of the health-care culture in Indonesia and doctors often preferred to prescribe brand-name drugs likely to generate money for providers.
Wati’s NGO has been reaching out to educate the public, rather than persuading doctors to change their practices. Through the ‘Be Smarter, Be Healthier’ campaign, Wati is using radio, television and the Internet to ‘encourage people to get health information to reduce their dependency on curative services from doctors’ adding that a more informed public will encourage doctors to adopt rational use practices.