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Health Ministry warns of risks related to overuse of antibiotics

Update: November, 23/2015 - 08:29
People purchase medicine at a pharmacy in Ha Noi. The Ministry of Health has called on health workers and residents to only take medicine prescribed by doctors. – VNA/VNS Photo Nhat Anh

HA NOI (VNS) — The health sector called on health workers and residents to use antibiotics responsibly by only taking medicine doctors prescribe at a meeting on Saturday in Ha Noi.

Speaking at the event, Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien called for further collaboration between relevant ministries and sectors to stop antimicrobial resistance in Viet Nam.

The minister asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to reduce or ban the use of antibiotics in animal breeding and tighten inspections.

Provinces and cities were requested to allocate funding for provincial health departments to implement the national action plan on combating antimicrobial resistance.

"The inappropriate use of antimicrobial drugs threatens the capacity of the health system to prevent, control and to treat common infectious diseases, resulting in higher mortality, prolonged treatments and catastrophic expenditures for the patients," said Dr Lokky Wai, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative to Viet Nam.

Dr Wai stressed that antimicrobial resistance was a multidimensional problem that not only affected public health, but also the economy and the sustainable development of the nation.

"As a society we must take decisive actions to preserve the effectiveness of antimicrobials before it is too late," said Dr Wai.

The organisation encouraged healthcare professionals to take full accountability and responsibility for prescribing and dispensing antibiotics, ensuring that these are given only when truly needed. Policy-makers must tackle antibiotic resistance in Viet Nam by implementing the national action plan to combat drug resistance, enforce measures to regulate the use in the human and agriculture sector and strengthen regulations for waste management and disposal.

The event was jointly organised for the first time in Viet Nam by the Ministry of Health and the WHO in response to the Antibiotics Awareness Week from November 16 to 22.

This year's campaign with the global theme: "Antibiotics: Handle with Care", calls on individuals and healthcare professionals to take action to ensure that future generations continue to have effective antibiotics to treat potentially deadly bacterial infections.

During the week, Viet Nam lined up various activities to promote the safe use of antibiotics. All provinces and cities will participate in a national campaign to raise awareness among the general public on the responsible and safe use of antibiotics.

Antimicrobial resistance in Viet Nam is affecting the health of the population and weakening the healthcare system. In recent years, the country has witnessed a growing threat of antimicrobial resistance, brought about by the excessive and irrational use of antibiotics at all levels of the healthcare system and the public.

In addition, the use of antimicrobials in animal husbandry, agriculture and food production increases the risk of spreading resistant microorganisms and threatens the safety and sustainability of the food chain. — VNS

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