By Khaled Al-Abdulhadi
KUWAIT: The healthy cities office at the ministry of health in Kuwait is leading a pivotal campaign to address patient safety and environmental concerns by facilitating the safe disposal of unwanted medication within the community in Kuwait. This initiative is in commemoration of World Patient Safety Day, which began on Sept 10 and is scheduled to run until Sept 21.
The campaign has received support from various organizations, including the WHO Kuwait country office, drug inspection administration, safety department at quality accreditation directorate, central directorate of primary healthcare and the services administration within the ministry of health, Environment Public Authority, Dhahiyat Abdullah Al-Salem Healthy City, Patients Helping Fund Society and the College of Pharmacy at Kuwait University. “We affirm our commitment to ensuring patient safety and preserving the environment in Kuwait.
This campaign serves as a testament to our dedication to the well-being of both our community and our planet,” said Dr Amaal Al-Yehia, Head of the Healthy Cities Office at the Ministry of Health. The primary objective of the take-back campaign is to provide the community with an opportunity to dispose accumulated medicines at home, whether they have expired or are no longer needed. Dr. Yehia emphasized that the aim is to prevent the accumulation of medication in households, which can be dangerous for household members, potentially lead to medication abuse and create waste management problems.
The campaign is designed to enforce specific health measures through collaboration with 11 sectors. Dr Assad Hafeez, the WHO Representative in Kuwait, stated: “This campaign aligns perfectly with the objectives of World Patient Safety Day, emphasizing the importance of engaging patients and communities. By safely disposing of unwanted medications, we commend the ministry of health for its efforts to protect the health of the community and the environment simultaneously.”
He also stressed the need to address the root causes of medication accumulation, involving the patient, prescriber and dispenser, and ensuring that patients do not misuse the system by obtaining the same medication from different sources. Dr Hafeez highlighted the significance of this campaign in Kuwait, as it promotes awareness within the community and prevents potential harm from expired medicines.
“As Kuwait takes this significant step towards patient safety, environmental stewardship and collaborative healthcare design, it sends a resounding message that each individual’s participation plays a pivotal role in shaping a healthier and safer future for all,” he said. “The campaign takes a monumental stride in ensuring that unused and expired medications are disposed of responsibly and sustainably, safeguarding both public health and the environment,” said Serin Al-Ghussein, Communication Specialist at WHO.
She clarified that the campaign’s objective in Kuwait is to encourage the community to return unwanted medications to designated collection points, ensuring proper disposal without adverse impacts on the environment or individuals’ health. “After witnessing the overwhelmingly positive response to the campaign in 2022, this year’s initiative will be expanded to encompass 20 primary healthcare centers across Kuwait.”
Ghussein also noted that the campaign serves as a timely reminder to the local community not to donate unused medications, as this practice could potentially pose risks to other patients. Instead, it encourages individuals to retain only the medication they genuinely require, thereby avoiding unnecessary medication accumulation.