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Campaign on responsible use of antibiotics launched in Vietnam

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – A campaign to raise public awareness over the responsible use of antibiotics in Vietnam was launched late last week, calling on individuals, organizations and communities to join hands in ending the antibiotic abuse at hospitals, farms and households.

The campaign was jointly implemented by the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

It was part of activities to mark the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW), from November 18 to 24.

The event aims to raise public awareness on antimicrobial resistance and encourage the best practices in the community among healthcare workers and policymakers to prevent the emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections.

According to WHO, antimicrobial resistance has emerged as one of the principal public health problems of the 21st century that threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi no longer susceptible to the common medicines used to treat them. 

In the Western Pacific region, including Vietnam, the media message of the WAAW is the “responsible use of antibiotics”, calling on people to take action against antimicrobial resistance as an overarching principle demonstrated by protecting themselves, the society and future generations.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien said the overuse of antibiotics in the livestock, aquaculture and horticulture industries poses a risk for the emergence and spread of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms.

The ministry has worked to phase out the use of antimicrobials for growth promotion. Besides, it is working with producers to maintain animal health and improve productivity.

Dr Kidong Park, representative of WHO in Vietnam, said antibiotic resistance is a fundamental threat to human health and one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity.

The global consumption of antibiotics in humans has increased over the past two decades, mainly due to the increasing use of antibiotics in low-income and middle-income countries.

Issues related to antibiotic resistance must be addressed urgently, through the “One Health” approach, involving strong and long-term commitments from governments and other stakeholders. “WHO stands ready to assist governments in ensuring the accessibility and effectiveness of essential medicines in the future,” he added.

Remi Nono Womdim, representative of FAO in Vietnam, said combating drug resistance will make food systems more resilient and sustainable.

FAO is currently applying the “One Health” approach, connecting with different sectors to support governments and stakeholders in the field.

In related news, WHO and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) have renewed their partnership to support Vietnam in Covid-19 response, under Points of Entry and Vaccination pillars of the Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan.

The grant signing ceremony between KOICA and WHO was led by Dr Han Deog Cho, Country Director of KOICA, and Dr Kidong Park, representative of WHO in Vietnam, on November 19, at the KOICA office in Vietnam.

Dr Han Deog Cho (L), Country Director of KOICA, and Dr Kidong Park, WHO Representative in Vietnam, sign the agreement – PHOTO: COURTESY OF WHO

The funding support from KOICA will further strengthen WHO’s assistance to the Ministry of Health in diverse areas, including disease prevention and emergency public health event response at the border; Covid-19 vaccination programs in selected hard-to-reach areas in priority provinces; the training of health staff on the Covid-19 vaccination; and data management on vaccination coverage, including vaccine safety. 

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