Patient safety

Launch of the WHO Safe Childbirth Checklist Collaboration

WHO Headquarters, Geneva
21 November 2012

Following the success of the Surgical Safety Checklist in 2008, the WHO Patient Safety Programme (PSP) launched the Safe Childbirth Checklist Collaboration with an invitation to organizations working in maternal and child health to work with WHO to study the implementation and usefulness of the Checklist in diverse health-care settings. The launch of the Collaboration followed the completion of the Pilot Edition of the Safe Childbirth Checklist and Manual.

During the launch event at WHO Headquarters in Geneva, members of various WHO Departments involved in this project presented the Safe Childbirth Checklist and shared information about the pilot testing of it and the start of the Collaboration.

Speaking at the launch Sir Liam Donaldson, WHO Envoy for Patient Safety said, The Safe Childbirth Checklist is an excellent example of how safety improvement methods developed in other areas of health care and by other industries, for example aviation, can be applied to today’s global health challenges.

In her presentation, Dr Marleen Temmerman, WHO Director of Reproductive Health and Research, stated, The majority of maternal and newborn deaths are preventable, as the main conditions leading to these deaths can be avoided and managed adequately through the use of effective interventions, as recommended within the WHO clinical guidelines. The Safe Childbirth Checklist provides an easy-to-use tool to facilitate the use of these recommended practices, synthesized on the basis of the latest research evidence.

According to Dr Edward Kelley, Coordinator of the Patient Safety Programme in the Health Systems and Innovation (HIS) Cluster at WHO Headquarters, This Checklist is similar to the style of the Surgical Safety Checklist which was introduced in 2008 by the World Health Organization. Since then, it has changed medical practice in developed as well as developing countries and has become the one of the most downloaded documents from the WHO website.

The Safe Childbirth Checklist Programme represents a joint effort between the WHO Patient Safety Programme (PSP) and the Departments of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (MCA) and Reproductive Health Research (RHR) in collaboration with the Harvard School of Public Health.