As the world continues to deal with the evolving threat of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Department of Education (DepEd) is eyeing the possibility of integrating proper antimicrobial handling and stewardship in the K to 12 curriculum.
During the celebration of the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2021, DepEd expressed support in championing antimicrobial stewardship which is defined by the
World Health Organization (WHO) as a “coherent set of actions that promote the responsible use of antimicrobials, applied at the individual, national, and global levels.”
With theme “Kaalaman ay Dagdagan, Antimicrobial Resistance sa Gitna ng COVID-19,” the week-long local event aimed to strengthen the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) campaign and advocate urgent action by leaders across various sectors combating the accelerating crisis of AMR.
“Let us always follow the right dosage, selection, and the number of antimicrobials as prescribed by educated experts to advance stewardship on antimicrobials,” Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said in a statement issued Wednesday, Dec. 29.
Meanwhile, Bureau of Learning Delivery (BLD) Director Leila Areola also highlighted that AMR has a direct impact on learners as they are more susceptible to infections caused by different strains of bacteria due to their age.
“We’ve been identifying entry points in the [school] curricula for possible integration in classroom discussion and activities, eventually in reaching our teaching and learning resources and materials,” Areola said.
“We’re putting premium to this action because the proper education of our youth will certainly provide significant impact in solving this concern,” she added.
National Antimicrobial Stewardship Steering Committee Chair Dr. Regina Berba stressed that the education sector is the “greatest force” in fostering increased awareness and behavioral change in the overall comb at scheme against AMR through awareness campaigns, school education, and continuing education.
Likewise, Department of Health (DOH) Program Manager to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance Johanna Mallari said teachers play an important role in strategizing effectively to help students in shaping their ideas and developing attitudes towards the prudent use of antibiotics.
“There is a need for urgent action and that includes educating our public and private care professionals on the proper or correct use of antibiotics to secure long-term availability of antibiotic treatments,” Mallari stressed.
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III also encouraged everyone to stay true to their commitment to the responsible use of antimicrobials, become stewards of the future united to preserve antimicrobials, and be prepared even beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
The experts also noted that AMR requires the “One Health” Approach in which human and animal health, and agriculture and food production sectors work together to contain its spread.