Antimicrobial resistance (AMR), according to the Department of Health (DOH), is the dangerous ability of infectious disease agents to survive and endure attacks by antimicrobials.
The antibiotic medicine to which they were previously sensitive becomes less and less effective causing persistence and the worsening of infectious diseases.
Considered as one of the most serious threats to global public health, the Philippines, recognizing the gravity of the situation, has been at the forefront of combating AMR since 2014.
The Inter-Agency Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance (ICAMR), comprising various pivotal government agencies representing the human health, animal health, science and technology, trade, local government, environment, and education sectors, is tasked with overseeing and implementing the country’s National Action Plan to Combat AMR through the One Health Approach.
Cause of AMR: How does AMR develop?
Every infection starts with a germ, bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites that may be transmitted through different means (inhalation, ingestion, person-to-person contact and through animals including insects).
Germs may multiply in your body even if you feel fine (proliferation). This causes a person to be sick. Antimicrobials may not always be necessary in the management of an infection.
Improper and inappropriate intake of antimicrobials is dangerous and can lead to AMR. Resistant germs may be transmitted to other humans and animals.
This year, the DOH marked the culmination of the celebration of the World AMR Awareness Week (WAAW) 2023, through the Philippine AMR Awareness Week (PAAW), together with the member agencies of the ICAMR and the UN Quadripartite, in a groundbreaking culminating activity and high-level media forum, resonating with the theme, “Sama-samang magtulungan upang antimicrobial resistance ay mapigilan” (Preventing antimicrobial resistance together).
The commitment extended to the regional and global levels, with the Philippines championing the ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration and the ASEAN Strategic Framework to Combat AMR through One Health Approach.
The 2023 PAAW reinforced the call for a united front against the accelerating crisis of AMR through collaborative efforts across sectors featuring the accomplishments of ICAMR Member Agencies, recognizing AMR champions and advocating for urgent action to address the crisis.
The week-long celebration was supported by the UN Quadripartite agencies composed of the World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, World Organization of Animal Health (WOAH), and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which lead global efforts and collaboration to fight AMR.
“Since 2015, the Philippines has been a dedicated participant in the annual World Antimicrobial Awareness Week every November, demonstrating a steadfast commitment to harmonizing its endeavors with the global objectives articulated in the Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance,” expressed Health Secretary Teodoro J. Herbosa.
As the Philippines highlights its unwavering commitment and milestones in the fight against AMR, Herbosa said, the event becomes a powerful platform to reinforce the Department’s “8-Point Action Agenda Para sa Healthy Pilipinas.”
“It serves as a compelling clarion call, urging the world to exercise meticulous care in the use of antimicrobials and join forces to prevent the emergence of antimicrobial resistance,” Herbosa added.
Appropriate use of antibiotics
The DOH reminds the public to use antibiotics correctly:
- Use antibiotics only when prescribed;
- Take the correct dose of antibiotics at the prescribed time;
- Take the antibiotic as directed by the physician.
- Always finish your prescribed treatment regimen; and
- Never share or use leftover antibiotics.