Joint effort to stop overuse and misuse of antimicrobials

WVR - Individuals, groups, institutions, and communities are called to take action to protect human and animal health by stopping misuse and overuse of antimicrobials.
Joint effort to stop overuse and misuse of antimicrobials. (Source: SK&ĐS)
Joint effort to stop overuse and misuse of antimicrobials - Illustrative image. (Source: SK&ĐS)

Vietnam's Ministry of Health (MOH) and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have led the observance of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week calling on individuals, groups, institutions, and communities to take action to protect human and animal health by stopping misuse and overuse of antimicrobials.

The Ministry of Health issued an order for all provinces to undertake awareness raising to stop overuse and misuse of antimicrobials to prevent antimicrobial resistance.

In MARD Statement, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien says, “Antimicrobial misuse in the livestock sector, aquaculture and crop production is a concern as a risk for emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistant micro-organisms".

He added that over the last two years the Government of Viet Nam has released regulations that phase out unnecessary use of antimicrobials in animal production, such as use for prophylactic purposes and antimicrobials of high importance for human health.

"It is also required for farmers to obtain a veterinary prescription for certain types of antimicrobial use. This year, we again appeal to farmers to consult with veterinary professionals and vet drug shop owners before using antimicrobials. Antimicrobials should be given to animals only when strictly necessary”, Tien said.

According to Rémi Nono Womdim, FAO Representative to Viet Nam, antimicrobial resistance is a global problem. Resistant micro-organisms and genes do not recognize geographical or ecological borders. Resistance arising in one geographical location or species can spread with ease to other geographical locations through movements of food, water, animals and/or people.

“FAO is working closely with the Government of Viet Nam to ensure proper dissemination of new regulations on antimicrobial use in livestock and aquaculture, as well as monitoring for the presence of antimicrobial resistance in animals and food. We also encourage responsible antimicrobial use in animal production, which will help keep our environment and our food free from antimicrobial residues and antimicrobial resistant bacteria”, he said.

WHO Representative to Viet Nam Angela Pratt emphasized that antimicrobial resistance is an extremely important issue, for Viet Nam, for the Asia-Pacific Region, and for the world and blamed the COVID-19 pandemic on further exacerbating the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, so now is the time to take stock and get our efforts to tackle antimicrobial resistance back on track.

"To do this, we need to take a One Health approach – drawing together different sectors and stakeholders in a collaborative effort to tackle problems including antimicrobial resistance at their source. WHO will continue to support the government’s work in ensuring future access to, and efficacy of these essential medicines. Antibiotics are one of humanity’s most important discoveries; we must protect and preserve them, and to do that, “together we need to stop AMR!”, Angela Pratt stated.

The World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW), observed on 18-24 November annually, aims to increase awareness of the dangers posed by antimicrobial resistance and to encourage action among the general public, health workers, animal owners and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites resist the effects of medications, making common infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death. Antimicrobials are used to fight diseases in humans, animals and plants and include antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal and antiparasitic medicines.

In the Western Pacific region, which includes Viet Nam, the WAAW theme is “Stewards for the Future: One Region, One Movement to Fight against Antimicrobial Resistance” which emphasizes individual, institutional and community responsibility and collective action to fight AMR and protect ourselves, our community and also future generations.

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