November 15, 2016 – The Philippines joins the global movement to advocate the responsible use of antibiotics as the Department of Health (DOH) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) leads the celebration of the Philippine Antibiotic Awareness Week (PAAW) 2016. This week-long celebration launches the Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) Program today, in Manila Pavilion which aims to address the misuse of antibiotics driving the emergence of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) by making bacteria stronger that make them withstand the effect of antibiotics.
The misuse of antibiotics in the clinical and community settings has been regarded as a major driver of AMR – a dangerous ability of microorganisms to withstand treatment with antibiotics which aggravate infections and even result in death. It is estimated that each year, globally 700,000 people die of infections due to antimicrobial resistance.
“After the successful launching of the “Philippine Action Plan to Combat AMR – One Health Approach” in the 2015 AMR Summit, the DOH now brings the strategic framework and advocacy closer to the health care professionals and the public – by launching a set of operational tools that will help curb the rise of resistance: an AMS Manual of Procedures, the National Antibiotic Guidelines and the Antimicrobial Consumption Methods Guide,” Health Secretary Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial explains.
The theme of the campaign, Antibiotics: Handle with Care, reflects the overarching message that antibiotics are a precious resource and should be preserved. The World Health Organization (WHO), World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) consider AMR a major threat in human and veterinary health which affects food and global health security, endangering the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
“Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today. It can affect anyone, of any age, and in any part of the country. Antibiotics should be used to treat bacterial infections only when prescribed by a certified health professional. Antibiotics should never be shared and the full course of treatment must be completed–not saved for the future,” says Dr. Gundo Weiler, WHO Country Representative in the Philippines, “We have a long road ahead to overcome antibiotic resistance but we can combat this threat together. The Philippines has taken significant steps to address antibiotic resistance and we look forward to continuing our work with the Philippine Department of Health, Department of Agriculture and member institutions of the Inter-Agency Committee on AMR on this important issue.”
In the Western Pacific Region, the Philippines is one of the leading countries that achieved the highest milestone in combating AMR. The health chief adds that dialogues and partnerships with the different government agencies, such as the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, Professional Regulation Commission, and private institutions and societies were made to facilitate understanding and involvement of everyone to address the growing concerns of AMR.
“The challenge for us now is to sustain concerted multidisciplinary approach to institutionalize the AMS program across all health facilities in the country through strong commitment, leadership and instill rational use of antibiotics by every Filipino through advocacies and awareness events. The current Philippine Health Agenda calls for health security for all Filipinos by eliciting multi-sector, multi-stakeholder health support. With your help, let us win the war against and achieve our goal in attaining All for Health towards Health for All,” Secretary Ubial concludes.