Fiji draws up new antimicrobial resistance operational plan

Fiji’s Permanent Secretary of Health Dr. James Fong reminded members of the country’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Committee about projections by the United Nations regarding deaths from AMR during their meeting in Suva today to draw up its operational plan for the nation.

According to the UN, deaths from AMR reached a staggering 10 million per year matching the number of deaths from all cancers combined.

“AMR is closely related to our national priorities in ‘building better’ and addressing climate change,” Dr Fong told committee members.

“Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a complex issue largely because it requires action from multiple sectors and disciplines for a truly successful outcome of reducing the impact of AMR on the health & well-being of humans, animals, and the environment.

“The Ministry of Health & Medical Services has shown commitment to addressing AMR through establishing a focal position at FPBS, coordinating activities and research programme with other partners, acting as a conduit for resources & technical support from donors and international agencies, and facilitating the governance & administration of the National Action Plan through the government mechanisms.”

Speaking on behalf of the World Health Organization’s acting Representative to the South Pacific, Dr Mahmoud Nuha reminded members of the committee that they would play critical roles in containing AMR.

“The rapid emergence and spread of AMR present health-care systems with serious challenges,” Dr. Nuha said.

“Without effective antimicrobial, the success of modern medicine in organ transplants, chemotherapy, and major surgery could be compromised.

“The WHO first global report on AMR surveillance published in 2014 found that resistance to common bacteria is reaching very high levels in the hospital and community setting with few effective treatment options remaining.” 

In the Pacific, Fiji was the first island country to respond to this call and established through Cabinet the  National Antimicrobial Resistance Committee, a Health task force to develop the National Antimicrobial Action Plan and Operational Plan for 2016 to 2018. The new action plan is scheduled to be completed by August this year.

Meanwhile, the committee will wrap up its meeting tomorrow.

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