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Health experts call for accelerated efforts against antibiotic resistance

Update: November, 21/2019 - 18:05
The health ministry’s Medical Services Administration director Lương Ngọc Khuê speaks at a meeting meeting in Hà Nội on Thursday to celebrate World Antibiotic Awareness Week (November 18-24). — VNS Photo Thanh Hải

HÀ NỘI — Health experts called for accelerated and better coordinated actions from all sectors in Việt Nam in the fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR) at a meeting in Hà Nội on Thursday to celebrate World Antibiotic Awareness Week (November 18-24).

At the meeting, the health ministry’s Medical Services Administration director Lương Ngọc Khuê said that the rate of antibiotic use has decreased sharply, contributing to significantly reducing antibiotic resistance and improving the quality of medical examination and treatment for people in Việt Nam.

“AMR is an ever-present threat to public health security in Việt Nam. We remain committed to work with all sectors to raise awareness about the seriousness of AMR,” Khuê said. “We also urge everyone – health professionals, farmers, our friends in the agriculture sector, patients, the media, policy makers, and of course, the public – to do their part and help stop the overuse and misuse of antibiotics.”

The Ministry of Health (MOH) and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) have started to review their national action plans on AMR, to ensure inter-sectoral coordination in developing new action plans next year.

At the event, representatives of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) also pledged their continued support to the fight against AMR in Việt Nam.

Hà Nội is expansing its programme of connecting pharmacies' database to the central one to monitor prescriptions, in an attempt to prevent overuse of antibiotics. — VNA/VNS Photo Dương Ngọc

Dr Kidong Park, WHO representative in Việt Nam, said the high rates of AMR are alarming in Việt Nam.

“Antibiotics are among 4 of the top 7 drugs reimbursed by Việt Nam Social Security, based on total drug expenditure in 2018. Việt Nam ranked 11th of 76 countries in terms of antibiotic consumption (DDD per 1,000 inhabitants) for the period 2000-15,” stressed Dr. Park.

“The overuse and misuse of antibiotics (69 per cent of antibiotics per 100 encounters) are the main contributing factors to irrational use of medicines in the country. To slow resistance, we need to cut the use of unnecessary antibiotics,” said Park.

“In the coming years, WHO will focus on reinforcing the roles of health professionals in the fight against overuse and misuse of antibiotics,” added the WHO representative.

“Antibiotics are not always the answer for all infectious diseases in animals, therefore it is important that farmers, drug sellers and even veterinarians are better aware of the risks caused by AMR, and only use antibiotics responsibly – not only to protect animal and human health but also to ensure the effectiveness of antimicrobials as a remedy for animal diseases,” said FAO representative Dr Albert Lieberg.

Lieberg reiterated it is possible to produce healthy and productive livestock by applying good husbandry practices, effective biosecurity and good vaccination plan.

The World Antibiotic Awareness Week aims to raise awareness of the implementation of measures to prevent and combat drug resistance in health, in the community, in agriculture and husbandry.

It also encourages community and health workers to pay attention, share and join hands, prevent the spread of resistant bacteria, reduce the resistance of pathogenic microorganisms, and contribute to reducing the burden in terms of health, economy and society due to AMR on humans. — VNS



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