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November 15, 2017

Time for rational use of antibiotics: minister


November 15, 2017

Islamabad: Pakistan is making efforts to improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) through effective communication, education and training. Adopting the ‘One Health’ approach, the Ministry of Health has developed a National Action Plan for AMR in collaborative with various stakeholders.

In a call to curb the irrational use of antibiotics, Minister for Health Saira Afzal termed AMR containment as a major priority area in the national public health agenda. She issued a statement in connection with World Antibiotic Awareness Week, which is being observed around the world from November 13-19 under the theme ‘Seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional before taking antibiotics.’ Activities during the week will include distribution of awareness material for human and animal health sectors, seminars and awareness walks, among others.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) and the National Agricultural Research Centre are focal institutions in the area of AMR for human and animal health sectors respectively, and are leading the initiative in collaboration with the World Health Organization to curb irrational use of antibiotics, Saira stated.

World Antibiotic Awareness Week aims to increase awareness of global antibiotic resistance and to promote best practices among the general public, health workers and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.

The problem of AMR has emerged as a major health crises in many countries worldwide including Pakistan. The widespread use of antimicrobials in human population, animal sector and agriculture has created the emergence and spread of AMR pathogens worldwide. Pakistan is witnessing the problem also due to inappropriate use with associated higher morbidity, mortality and costs. At the 68th session of the World Health Assembly in Geneva in May 2015, delegates endorsed a Global Action Plan to tackle AMR.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) is encouraging health partners, students, public and the media to join the activities during the week and help raise awareness about antibiotic resistance.

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