Antimicrobial resistance one of the biggest public health threats in the world: NIH head – Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the biggest public health threats in the world, National Institute of Health (NIH) Executive Director Maj Gen Aamer Ikram said on Thursday.

Speaking at a National Symposium on Antimicrobial Resistance, he said that most people are not aware that antibiotics need to be taken in an appropriate manner to prevent the emergence of resistant superbugs.

“This kind of a symposium has provided a much-needed platform for key stakeholders to sit together and introduce massive changes to the present practices of the use of antimicrobial agents in human, animal and environmental health sectors under a collective One Health approach,” he said.

Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria develops the ability to defeat drugs designed to kill them. When bacteria become resistant, antibiotics cannot fight them, leading to dangerous infections.

When antibiotics fail to work, the consequences are longer-lasting illnesses, more doctor visits or extended hospital stays, and the need for more expensive and toxic antibiotics.

In some cases, antibiotic-resistant infections can lead to serious disability or even death. It is also feared that a superbug can emerge at any time, due to which there will be no treatment for it. The symposium was organised by the NIH in collaboration with the Fleming Fund Country Grant.

Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it was semi-virtual and centrally located in Islamabad.

As a commitment to the World Health Assembly Resolution 2015, Pakistan has developed its National AMR Framework, a national action plan and a multi-sectoral National AMR Steering Control Committee in 2017.

The government has also approved funding to launch a national programme on AMR.

Parliamentary Secretary for Health Dr Nausheen Hamid said that the government was committed to playing its part in global disease control programmes more effectively and standing alongside the global community in their effort to reduce the burden of AMR.

Published in Dawn, August 21st, 2020

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