If you are driving past Groote Schuur Hospital in the next month and wonder why the building is bathed in orange light, it is because the hospital has embraced the call by the World Health Organisation to mark the month of September – and particularly World Patient Safety Day (WPSD) on 17th September – as a day dedicated to the safety of both patients and staff.

In this dark year of COVID19 we need some light. The theme for this year’s WHO World Patient Safety Challenge is the well-being and care of healthcare workers. To promote WPSD, all participating countries are asked to light up monuments or iconic buildings in their towns and cities across the world. Last last year COHSASA arranged to light up the statue of Nelson Mandela on the Grand Parade – have a look at our video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQGWlofUOUU&t=20s.

The WHO WPSD theme is to ensure the well-being and care of healthcare workers. After all, if they are in bad shape, how can they attend to the needs of patients? It has been estimated that the mental toll on health professionals and all those working in the healthcare system has been extreme. A shortage of personal protective equipment, isolation, social distancing, staff shortage, the nearness of death, the loss of colleagues – all these have conspired to turn COVID19 into a war and it has taken the lives of nearly 300 South African health workers.

Plans are in place to create a psychological support network for healthcare workers where they will receive up to four free sessions of counselling, attend support groups and have various programmes in place to deal with the stress they have to manage every day.

COHSASA, together with the Clinix Group and IQHealth Consulting, has arranged a World Patient Safety Webinar on 29th September at 10h00. The topic cover the Mental Health and Psychological Care for Health Care Workers and features five expert panellists, moderated by COHSASA CEO, Jacqui Stewart. The views expressed in this webinar and the information gained could be of value. If you need more details, email queries@cohsasa.co.za.