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Action plan to tackle bacteria

Avneel Chand
Saturday, November 11, 2017

AN action plan to tackle the increasing resistance of bacteria to antibiotics has been launched by three fellows of Australia Awards Fellowship.

The project will be known as Kick-starting Pacific National Plans to Address Antimicrobial Resistance (KICK-AMR).

The five-year long project will be reviewed this year.

Dr Ravi Naidu, who was one of the fellows and a medicine specialist, who has interest in infectious diseases, said the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report on what each region could do to address the issue.

"The aim of this project was to get groups from the region and to help everyone start their anti (microbe resistance) action plan.

"WHO has looked at things each region should do. Fiji was actually the first in the region to look at that action plan and make it suitable for Fiji," he said.

"We have an action plan, we also have an operational plan, and there have been a lot of activities which has been done."

Dr Naidu said a committee was set up to review the objectives and the key measures that must be taken from the WHO report.

He said the issue of resistance was not only limited to human health, but also affected other sectors such as agriculture.

"Antimicrobial resistance is not just for human health, there are a lot of antibiotics used in animals too. So that action plan looks at all the stakeholders, so this includes the agriculture industry, human health, education.

"The main thing about the action plan is looking at antimicrobial stewardship awareness and also looking at legislative issues," he said.

"Basically every time you expose a group of bacteria to antibiotics, what happens is it kills a set of bacteria and what bacteria is left is bacteria which can fight off the antibiotics and that group of bacteria re-grows into bigger colonies."

Dr Naidu said the bacteria was able to share their genes which made it more difficult to find a way to tackle the issue.

"What makes it difficult is the bacteria can share their genes, the resistance to other bacteria, to other colonies so that has actually made groups of bacteria very resistant in some parts of the world."

Meanwhile, Dr Naidu called on people to be mindful with the consumption and dissemination of antibiotics.

"The responsibility should be on everyone, not just the prescribers. It is actually everyone using antibiotics.

"Whenever you take antibiotics ask yourself do you really need it."

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