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Antibiotic Awareness Week kicks off

Released at: 14:18, 14/11/2017

Antibiotic Awareness Week kicks off

Illustrative image (Source: congly.vn)

Week from November 13 to 19 aims to improve awareness about the damage caused by the misuse of antibiotics.

by Doanh Doanh

The National Steering Committee for Antibiotic Resistance, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Health Organization (WHO) are again joining forces to raise awareness about antibiotic resistance and the responsible use of antibiotics.

Highlighting the importance of commitments at the local level, the National Steering Committee, the FAO and WHO co-organized the launch of Antibiotic Awareness Week in northern Vinh Phuc province on November 13. “Stronger policies and high-level commitment alone are not enough to stop the misuse and overuse of antibiotics”, said Deputy Minister of Health and Chair of the National Steering Committee for Antibiotic Resistance, Dr. Nguyen Viet Tien. “We must engage communities and make sure everyone knows how to use antibiotics responsibly. Every regulator, farmer, doctor, patient and consumer must take action to stop the rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in our communities.” The Week will last until November 19.

Vietnam is a forerunner among countries in Southeast Asia in showing a multi-sectoral commitment and taking action at all levels of government to combat AMR. “Vietnam has shown impressive leadership in creating mechanisms for collaboration across sectors,” Mr. JongHa Bae, FAO Representative in Vietnam, and Dr. Kidong Park, WHO Representative in Vietnam, agree. “We see continuous progress in moving towards improved surveillance systems and control of antibiotic use to safeguard both human and animal health.”

In September, the government called on the Ministries of Health, Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Natural Resources and Environment, and Industry and Trade to discuss the successes and challenges of the National Action Plan on AMR 2013-2020. Later in October, an AMR surveillance working group was founded to improve collaboration among stakeholders working in AMR surveillance in human and animal health, communities, and the environment.

“Vietnam is taking important steps to join the WHO Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System,” said Dr. Park. “AMR surveillance is the cornerstone in assessing the burden of AMR and for providing the necessary information for action in support of local, national, and global strategies.”

2017 also saw the launch of the National Action Plan for the Management of Antibiotic Use and Control of Antibiotic Resistance in Livestock Production and Aquaculture 2017-2020 by MARD. “Action to manage antibiotic use and control AMR in one sector must go hand-in-hand with enforcement of regulations in and collaboration with other sectors,” said Mr. Bae. “FAO and WHO stand with the government of Vietnam to support this effort.”

Irrational use of antibiotics threatens human and animal health - Make a pledge to stop misuse and combat resistance

Around the world, many common infections are becoming resistant to the antimicrobial agents used to treat them, resulting in longer illnesses and more deaths. Infections like pneumonia as well as HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria are increasingly becoming untreatable because of AMR. Vietnam is among the countries that in recent years 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, in aquaculture and livestock production, and the public.

As part of the regional campaign to stop the misuse of antibiotics, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific, Dr. Shin Young-soo, has launched a race to receive 1 million pledges to stop AMR. Log on to https://pledge.antibioticawarenessweek.org/ and make a pledge. By pledging, you commit to stop the misuse of antibiotics and will receive information about what action to take to combat resistance.

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