PR No.37 First Ever Policy Development Workshop On Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Organized By Ministry Of National Health Services Regulations And Coordination Islamabad

The first National Policy Development Workshop on Antimicrobial Resistance concluded in Islamabad on Wednesday. The workshop was attended by representatives and experts from federal and provincial health departments/institutions, other relevant stakeholders and subject matter experts involved in production, regulation, consumption, research and prescription of antibiotics.

The antimicrobial resistance is a global phenomenon and there are reports of increasing occurrence of AMR causing germs that threaten human and animal health. As a consequence the infections due to resistant organisms can be severe, including longer illnesses, increased deaths, prolonged hospital stay, and increased costs. The indirect impact of AMR is also very significant and extends beyond increased health risks with major implications on public health.

It is now a well-established fact that systematic misuse and overuse of antibiotics in human and animal health sector and food production have promoted widespread distribution of resistant organisms, including in Pakistan. The problem is further compounded by the fact that few replacement antimicrobial products are in the pipeline.

In her message the Minister for National Health Services Mrs Saira Afzal Tarar said the Ministry of NHSRC considers AMR containment as a priority and is committed to implementing the Global Action Plan (GAP) for AMR. She said this National AMR Policy is being developed which is in line with the five strategic objectives of the WHO Global Action Plan for AMR focusing on improving awareness and understanding of AMR; strengthen the knowledge and evidence base through surveillance and research; reducing the incidence of infection through effective sanitation; hygiene and infection prevention measures, optimizing the use of antimicrobial medicines in human and animal health and to develop the economic case for sustainable investment that takes account of the needs of all countries and to increase investment in new medicines, diagnostic tools, vaccines and other interventions.

Earlier during the inaugural session the Secretary Ministry NHRS&C said the Ministry of National Health Services in collaboration with stakeholders has initiated the process of AMR policy development. “We are fully aware of the magnitude of the AMR and its commitment to the global forum and announced a national strategic and operational plan will be in place by May 2017”. He urged the experts to reflect upon the principles of engagement of whole-of-society including a one-health approach; appropriate use of existing and new antimicrobial medicines; sustainability through long-term investment and prioritization of actions required to meet local and global needs in all such initiatives.