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Press Release: Cambodia joins World Antibiotic Awareness Week Celebrations aiming to prevent misuse of antimicrobials

20/11/2018

CAMBODIA: Over-prescribing of antibiotics by physicians, veterinarians, dentists and their misuse by farmers result in resistance by the microbes to drugs that were designed to fight them. As a result, human deaths due to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) are estimated to increase from today’s 700,000 worldwide to 10 million in 2050, and the antibiotic misuse in agriculture will lead to production losses, unsafe or contaminated foods and soil and water pollution by drug residues and resistant microbes.

As part of the global efforts to combat AMR, Cambodia is joining the World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) celebrations. The event is calling for responsible use of antibiotics in humans, agriculture, and the environment and aim to raise awareness about consequences of inappropriate use across different sectors.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), Ministry of Health (MOH), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the World Health Organization (WHO) jointly organized the Cambodian WAAW celebrations to be held from 26th – 27th November 2018 at Kampong Cham province. Under the theme “Handle Food Safely and Combat AMR”, a series of events will be organized, involving physicians and health care practitioners at Kampong Cham Provincial Hospital, food retailers, food consumers, Village Health Workers (VHW), Village Animal Health Workers (VAHW), district and provincial veterinarians and other stakeholders engaged with the food value chain, such as slaughterhouse workers. The 2018 WAAW stakeholders are considered to play key roles in improving food safety and prudent antimicrobial use.

Antibiotic resistance in Cambodia is driven by irresponsible use of antimicrobials in the health sector and in agriculture, mainly in food producing terrestrial and aquatic animals. The challenges of inappropriate antimicrobial use in agriculture and food animals include lack of data to guide veterinarians and animal health providers in prescribing antimicrobials, limited capacity to diagnose and treat, and poor application of biosecurity at the farm level, lack of awareness about the consequences of inappropriate antimicrobial use and unrestricted access to antimicrobials. Additionally, non-therapeutic use of antibiotics for disease prevention and growth promotion is prevailing and antibiotics critically important for human medicine are commonly used.  

Mr Alexandre HUYNH, Representative of FAO in Cambodia emphasizes that while the MoH and WHO focus on human health, the FAO and MAFF will promote prudent and responsible use of antimicrobials in food and agriculture, encouraging good farming and biosecurity practices aimed at preventing infection in livestock, aquaculture, and crop production. He stated that “calling for responsible use of antibiotics and promoting positive behavioral changes through increasing an understanding of AMR risks among relevant stakeholders and the general public are our key priorities to further mitigate the spread of AMR in Cambodia.”

 

For media inquiries please kindly contact Ms. Tet Chann, Communication Officer, UNFAO in Cambodia,

Tel: 011 276 775, Email: chann.tet@fao.org