New Delhi: All of us will at some point in our life take medicines to prevent or treat illness.
However, medicines do sometimes cause serious harm if taken incorrectly. Both health workers and patients can make mistakes by prescribing, dispensing, preparing, administering or consuming the wrong medication or the wrong dose at the wrong time, which could result in severe harm, disability and even death.
As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), medication errors cause at least one death every day and injure approximately 1.3 million people annually in the United States of America alone.
"We all expect to be helped, not harmed, when we take medication," said Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. "Apart from the human cost, medication errors place an enormous and unnecessary strain on health budgets. Preventing errors saves money and saves lives."
WHO has launched a global initiative to reduce severe, avoidable medication-associated harm in all countries by 50% over the next 5 years.
But all medication errors are potentially avoidable.Preventing errors and the harm that results requires putting systems and procedures in place to ensure the right patient receives the right medication at the right dose via the right route at the right time.
Medication errors can be caused by health worker fatigue, overcrowding, staff shortages, poor training and the wrong information being given to patients, among other reasons.