ISLAMABAD: With antimicrobial resistance posing a significant health challenge worldwide, the health ministry has drafted a ‘national action plan’ to combat it in Pakistan.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the ability of a microorganism (such as bacteria, viruses, and some parasites) to stop antimicrobial treatment such as antibiotics, antivirals, and antimalarials from working against it, blunting the effect of standard treatment.
The plan was drafted during a five-day consultative workshop in Islamabad which ended on Friday. Over 75 participants and technical experts representing health, agriculture, livestock, environment, academia, armed forces and the private sector participated in the workshop.
Built along the five strategic objectives listed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Action Plan for AMR, the draft plan includes key strategic priorities, operational plans, interventions, essential indicators of monitoring and evaluation framework.
At the concluding session of the workshop, National AMR focal person Dr Muhammad Salman presented the key elements of the draft NAP highlighting its development process and the salient features of strategic and operational plans.
Moreover, he detailed the monitoring evaluation framework and future steps.
Food and Agriculture Organisation representative Dr Muhammad Afzal highlighted the need of restricting the use of AMR in the animal sector. He also emphasised the importance of AMR surveillance and implementation of bio-risk management in the livestock sector and the need for rational use of antimicrobials.
Balochistan Health Department Director General Dr Masood Nowsherwani stated that this NAP would help provinces develop and implement their own AMR action plans.
Sindh Health Department’s Dr Qazi Mujtaba hoped that NAP would help control AMR and assured support of the provincial government for the plan. He stressed that effective implementation and monitoring at district level was key for the plan’s success.
Dr Qurban Ali, director general of the Animal husbandry commissioner, stressed that food security stood compromised if it was not safe for consumption by a human. He further noted that in Pakistan, antibiotics are prescribed indiscriminately for both humans and animals.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 4th, 2017.