MANILA -- The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday intensified its campaign to increase public awareness on antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which is now becoming a serious health concern among Filipinos, especially for those being treated with infectious diseases.
During the 2nd Philippine AMR Summit in Manila, Health Secretary Franscisco Duque III said AMR compromises the ability of medical advancements, both in animal and human health, to treat infectious ailments worldwide.
"AMR occurs when microbial resistance changes after exposure to antimicrobial drugs such as antibiotics. Both the causes and consequences of this problem cut across several disciplines, not just health, affecting health security, trade economy and the environment," Duque told reporters.
Together with the Department of Agriculture and United Nations agencies, DOH held a series of dialogues and symposia to synthesize the input of various sectors on addressing the AMR issue properly.
"The Philippines is committed to lead the fight against AMR in the region globally, we recognize that AMR is a national priority, let's work together for a better healthcare system for our countrymen," Duque said.
This action is in line with the mandate of Administrative Order No. 42, issued in 2014 - which created the Inter-Agency Committe on Antimicrobial Resistance to formulate and implement the National Action Plan against AMR.
World Health Organization country representative Gundo Weiler, meanwhile, said there is an increase in the number of people dying every year due to AMR.
"We estimate that every year around the world 700,000 people die in connection with antimicrobial resistance, there is an upward trend, we estimate that probably 10 million people will die related to antimicrobial resistance by 2050, this has huge consequences not only on health but also the economy and the expenditures associated to this computed between now and 2050, loss to economy would be a staggering USD100 trillion," he said.
Weiler added that the major causes of AMR include misuse and overuse of antibiotics, incorrect treatment practices, and infection causing habits.
"Antiobiotics are very powrful drugs which must be used carefully, it is important to use antibiotics wisely and only if prescribed by a medical doctor," he said, adding that it is also important to complete the intake of prescribed antibiotics even after the patient's condition has improved.
Stressing that prevention is key in fighting AMR, Weiler urged Filipinos to commit to good practices like handwashing, hygienic food handling and avoiding unnecessary contact to sick people.
In connection, Duque urged the public to avoid "self-medication behavior", which is common among Filipinos who want to avoid medical consultation costs.
"Sumangguni po tayo sa mga pampublikong pagamutan at kumuha po ng tamang reseta at buin po dahil malinawa naman po sa reseta kung 7 days, kung kelan mo iinumin, kung hindi mas mahal na gamutan ang mangyayari sa susunod, mas mahal ang second, third line ngantibiotics (Go to public hospitals and get doctor's prescriptions and follow the prescription completely as it clearly says 7 days, the duration of medication, if not your next medication would be costly, second, third line antibiotics are expensive)," he said. (PNA)