Public warned: Improper antibiotic use can be catastrophic, costly

Published November 21, 2018, 6:18 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Roy Mabasa

The Philippines, with support from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN-FAO), has spearheaded an awareness campaign on the responsible use of antimicrobials, including antibiotics, especially among veterinarians and practitioners.

(IAMResponsible Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN)
(IAMResponsible Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN)

Called “ iAMResponsible”, the campaign marked the World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) on November 12 to 18.

The campaign calls for the use and prescription of antibiotics only when needed – right drug, right dose, right time, right route, right species, and right patient among veterinarians and practitioners.

In a statement, the FAO warned that irresponsible use of antimicrobials such as antibiotics could have “catastrophic and costly consequences.”

Resistant bacteria may be transferred between animal, humans and the environment.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR), it added, “makes antibiotics less effective in fighting infections, and can result in increased deaths in humans and animals.”

AMR is the ability of bacteria to survive treatment with antimicrobials, including antibiotics.

Thus, AMR is the general term for drug resistance in microbes.

It occurs naturally but misuse and abuse contribute to a spike in cases of AMR.

Because of the threat it poses, the UN General Assembly moved to include AMR as a priority health issue that must be tackled, alongside responses to Ebola and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Farm owners are urged to apply good animal husbandry practices and use antibiotics only when prescribed by a licensed veterinarian.

Drug manufacturers, distributors, and retail stores are also encouraged to ensure that antibiotics have proper prescriptions before it is sold.

Antimicrobial is a pharmaceutical term to describe drugs used to prevent and treat parasitic, bacterial, viral and fungal infections.

Antimicrobial resistance

According to the FAO Philippines, the project has been helping implement activities related to the AMR National Action Plan that includes development and implementation of the AMR surveillance program in animal health sector; strengthening capacity in central and regional government laboratories in relation to AMR surveillance; supporting the different Department of Agriculture (DA) regional offices and local government units in the establishment of the AMR Regional Councils, as part of a national network on AMR; and raising awareness on AMR particularly in the food and agriculture sector.

FAO is currently working with the DA, particularly with the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), in implementing the AMR project.

In 2014, the Philippine government created the Inter-Agency Committee for the Formulation and Implementation of the National Action Plan to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance in the Philippines (ICAMR), composed of the DA, Department of Health, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Interior and Local Government, and the Department of Trade and Industry.

The Philippines is one of the first countries to answer the call for action against the threat of AMR.