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TCI continues to commemorate World Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Week



According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), antimicrobial resistance (AMR) represents a major global threat across the human, animal, plant, food and environmental sectors.


The WHO as a part of a quadripartite (four-party) group of organisations including the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) continues to fight against this issue which is one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity.


AMR occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites no longer respond to antimicrobial agents. As a result of drug resistance, antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals and antiparasitics become ineffective and infections become difficult or impossible to treat, increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.


In light of this public health concern, the WHO continues to lead the global campaign known as World AMR Awareness Week (WAAW) by improving awareness and understanding of AMR and encouraging best practices among a number of stakeholders. The stakeholders include the public, One Health stakeholders (health care providers, farmers, animal health professionals) and policymakers, who all play a critical role in reducing the further emergence and spread of AMR.


The Minister of Health and Human Services, Hon. Shaun D. Malcolm commented that “the TCI understands the need to address this issue holistically and is using a multi-sectoral approach also known as the One Health approach to bring awareness to this issue.”


He further added: “This year, the TCI joins and continues to support the WHO in observing WAAW between the 18th and 24th November under the theme ‘Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together’, and we ask that the general public support the initiatives of the Ministry of Health and Human Services”.


The WHO estimated that almost 5 million deaths were associated with bacterial AMR, including 1.27 million deaths that were directly caused by it. For this reason, this year's theme calls for collaboration across sectors to preserve the effectiveness of critical medicines known as antimicrobials. To effectively reduce AMR, all sectors must use antimicrobials prudently and appropriately, take preventive measures to decrease the incidence of infections and follow good practices in the disposal of antimicrobial-contaminated waste.


Commenting on this year’s WAAW campaign the Hon. Shaun Malcolm, Minister of Health and Human Services stated:


“The MoHHS continues to diligently execute its duty by ensuring that the people of the TCI are healthier and empowered people. One of the initiatives that help us to achieve this mission is our continued support of the World AMR Awareness Week campaign. The theme 'Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together’ reminds us that all stakeholders need to understand their individual and collective roles in the fight against this global issue.


“ We are aware that AMR affects us all being a threat not only to humans but animals, plants and the environment. Hence, we encourage all residents to be more vigilant by appropriately using antimicrobials and practicing better hygienic care daily.”


The MoHHS, by way of its draft national action plan, continues to work with a team of health professionals from various sectors to tackle the very serious problem of AMR. Importantly, the MoHHS seeks to improve awareness and understanding of AMR, strengthen knowledge through surveillance and research, reduce the incidence of infection and improve the use of antimicrobial agents.


The following events are being planned:


Sharing of information on the Health Promotion and Advocacy Unit’s Facebook page. (https://m.facebook.com/tcihealthpromotions)

AMR presentations to be conducted in person and via online platforms to various primary health care clinics, schools and church groups across the islands.

For further information on AMR, kindly contact the National Pharmacist at 338-3072.

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