Antibiotics resistance concern

HEALTH and Medical Services Minister Rosy Akbar says she has grave concerns over the use of antimicrobial resistance.

While addressing senior health officials from 22 Pacific Island countries during the Pacific Heads of Health Meeting in Suva yesterday, Ms Akbar urged the participants to talk more on the issue of antimicrobial resistance.

“While we rightly focus on NCDs, the fact is many of our recent achievements in tackling communicable diseases could be reversed by the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria,” she said.

According to the World Health Organization, antimicrobial resistance is a broader term, encompassing resistance to drugs that treat infections caused by other microbes as well, such as parasites (e.g. malaria or helminths), viruses (e.g. HIV) and fungi.

Fiji became the first country in the Pacific to develop and launch a national plan for antimicrobial resistance in 2015.

“One of my earliest public engagements after I took up the health portfolio last year was to help mark Antimicrobial Awareness Week,” said Ms Akbar.

“That may help to explain why I continue to feel so strongly about the need to maintain our efforts to reduce the misuse and overuse of antibiotics.”

Ms Akbar said meetings as such were important as it assisted leaders to learn from each other and work out ways on how to improve on the issues discussed.

The meeting is organised by the Pacific Community (SPC) and it aims to provide an important platform on the compilement of a regional health policy.

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