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Fighting Antimicrobial Resistance: Save Lives, Use Antibiotics Prudently

19/11/2016

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a global threat to public and animal health, which impacts agriculture, food security and environmental security. Antimicrobial resistance is characterised by the emergence of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotic treatment - or commonly known as "superbugs", resulting in prolonged illness as infections become more difficult to cure, or even in death.


Global mortality related to antimicrobial resistance is recorded at 700,000 people per year, and is projected to reach 10 million people per year by 2050 – much higher than deaths caused by cancer.


"The imprudent and irrational use of antibiotics – in livestock, fisheries, agriculture and public health sectors contributes to the emergence of antimicrobial resistance. Antibiotics are indeed essential in treating animal diseases, but their misuse and overuse can lead to the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance,” said Drh. I Ketut Diarmita, MP, Director-General of Livestock and Animal Health Services, Ministry of Agriculture, during the “Seminar on the Roles of the Medical Professions in Antimicrobial Resistance Control”, held on 19 November at the Bogor Agricultural Institute (IPB). The seminar was held in conjunction with World Antibiotics Awareness Week, which is running from 14 to 20 November 2016.


Antimicrobial Resistance occurs when microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change in ways that render the medications (such as antibiotic, antifungal, antiviral and antiparasitic) used to cure the infections they cause ineffective. In the case of livestock, for example, animals could develop drug-resistant bacteria –or superbugs in their gut. The superbug then reaches humans through food, the environment (water, soil, air), or by direct human-animal contact.


“The Ministry of Agriculture is on the alert against the threat of antimicrobial resistance. We are currently preparing for the establishment of the Antimicrobial Resistance Control Committee (KPRA) based at the Ministry of Agriculture, and finalising the National Action Plan and Road Map on AMR,” explains Diarmita.


Dr. James McGrane, Team Leader of the FAO Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) Indonesia, says that antimicrobial resistance is closely related to the health, medical treatment, food production system security and a safe environment for agro-ecology.


“In today’s global health perspective, antimicrobial resistance is not seen as an individual problem, but is associated with various sectors: public health, animal health – which includes fisheries and aquaculture, food chain and the environment. For this reason, the "One Health" approach is needed to address antimicrobial resistance, due to its complexity” says McGrane.

 

The National Board of The Indonesian Veterinary Medicine Association (PB PDHI) urges the veterinary professional community to use antibiotics in animals in a prudent way for the welfare of humans.


"Antibiotics must be used according to medical requirement for the patient’s recovery and long term health. As quoted from the veterinarian’s oath that we will provide protections for animals for the welfare of humans. Because of this, the medical efforts being performed must not only heal the animals while ignoring the health of humans who consume the animal products and/or ignore the risk of disease agent resistance. PB PDHI urges the government to formulate strict regulations about the usage and monitoring of antibiotics. Together, we will improve human welfare by using antibiotics in animals prudently,” said Dr. Drh. Heru Setijanto, PAVet(K), Chairman of PB PDHI.


Prof. drh. Srihadi Agungpriyono, Ph.D, PAVet (K), Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Bogor Agriculture Institute (FKH IPB) stated that the role of the veterinary medicine education is essential in providing knowledge and skill for future veterinarians and veterinarians regarding the prudent usage of antibiotics.


"Microbial resistance to antibiotic is a global threat for human and animal health in the present and the future. Veterinarians must have an active role in controlling and handling antibiotic resistance issues. Because of this, veterinarians must be provided with knowledge and skills about handling and medication of infectious diseases in animals, good knowledge about medicine and antibiotics, animal health management and a system to prevent medicine and antibiotic residues in animal-based food product. FKH IPB is committed to hold trainings, researches and public researches related to the smart, prudent and responsible use of medicine and antibiotic.


World Antibiotics Awareness Week (WAAW) is an agenda organised annually to raise global awareness of antimicrobial resistance. The WAAW aims at encouraging the prudent and responsible use of antibiotics. In this regard, the Government of Indonesia is committed to support the global plan to slow down and reduce the speed at which antimicrobial resistance develops, through active participation in the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), where AMR control is one of the main action packages.