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December 2008 Edition

In Focus
Patient Champions Launch New Advocacy Network

Patient safety advocates from throughout the Americas gathered in Argentina in October to launch the new "Sylvia Ceballos" Pan American Patient Network, to promote patient participation in efforts to improve quality and safety in health care.

The network was announced at the 3rd Regional Patient Safety Workshop in Buenos Aires, sponsored by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Alliance for Patient Safety, an initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO). The workshop brought together public health officials and patient advocates from 10 PAHO member countries to review recent achievements by patient safety advocates, to launch the new patients-for-patient-safety network, and to improve patient skills for dialog with healthcare planners and policymakers.

The "patient champions" who make up the network are healthcare consumers who have personally experienced, or who have a loved one who experienced, some form of medical error or adverse event in health care.

The group's focus is on working within healthcare systems to improve patient safety, particularly through systemic changes.

The new network is named in honor of Sylvia Ceballos, a Chilean patient advocate who died in 2006. Ceballos was a PAHO/WHO patient champion and a participant in the 1st Regional Patient Safety Workshop, held in San Francisco in 2006.

Since the first regional workshop, the PAHO/WHO patient champions have supported a number of important patient safety efforts in the Americas, including:

  • In Argentina, the creation of a new physician-patient network for healthcare safety.
  • In Canada and Peru, the formation of national patient networks that are collaborating with public institutions to design and carry out national campaigns promoting healthcare quality and patient rights.
  • In Costa Rica, training for adolescent patient leaders in self-management of chronic diseases.
  • In Mexico, support from patient advocates for scientific research on patient safety.

Workshop participants have also provided support for the "Clean Care is Safe Care" initiative of the World Alliance for Patient Safety, which promotes efforts to reduce healthcare-associated infections.

The new "Sylvia Ceballos" Pan American Patient Network will work to expand patient safety advocacy throughout the PAHO region and will support the work of the Patients for Patient Safety initiative at the global level.

For more information visit WHO's Patient Safety page.

 
 

 
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