KOICA, WHO highlight progress fighting antimicrobial resistance and future opportunities

01/12/2022 20:46
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KPL (KPL) Officials from the Ministry of Health, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and World Health Organization (WHO) met in Vientiane on Nov 24 to discuss the significant progress made on addressing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the Lao PDR, as well as future opportunities to address this global health threat.

(KPL) Officials from the Ministry of Health, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and World Health Organization (WHO) met in Vientiane on Nov 24 to discuss the significant progress made on addressing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the Lao PDR, as well as future opportunities to address this global health threat.

The discussions took place during World Antimicrobial Awareness Week at the closing ceremony for a major WHO and KOICA programme, which has been a key driver of improved national laboratory capability to identify and monitor drug-resistant microbes, staff training, and better reporting to national and global laboratories and monitoring networks.

Currently, at least 700 000 people die each year due to drug-resistant diseases. This number is projected to rise to 10 million deaths each year by 2050.

“Antimicrobial resistance is one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity,” said Dr. Bounfeng Phoummalaysith, Minister of Health, “It occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time, becoming ‘superbugs’, no longer respond to medicines, and poses a significant risk to human and animal health, and agriculture and livestock sectors.” 

“But, as the Lao PDR we have made significant progress on our ability to monitor and respond to this threat, with significant support provided by our close partners KOICA and WHO – for which we are extremely appreciative. This support has and will save lives.”

The USD1.5 m programme began in 2017, and has provided extensive training, technical assistance, and laboratory equipment, including development of guidelines and surveillance system, while working with Ministry of Health including Department of Communicable Disease Control (DCDC), Food and Drug Department (FDD), National Center for Laboratory and Epidemiology (NCLE) and hospitals in selected provinces.

In that time, the Lao PDR has developed a National Strategic Plan on AMR 2019-2023, established a national surveillance system and data-sharing network, and now reports findings to the WHO Global Antimicrobial Resistance and Use Surveillance System. Similarly, systems to track and analyze consumption of antibiotics in hospitals – whose misuse is a key contributor to AMR – have been established and are also reported to WHO.

 “We are delighted with the significant and transformative change that the Lao PDR has made when it comes to addressing this threat, made possible as a result of committed and dedicated efforts by staff and officials at all levels of the healthcare system,” said Ambassador Jung Young Soo.

“Improvements in coordination with other nations and agencies is particularly commendable, demonstrating the crucial ingredient to success in fighting AMR - working together - to protect our communities, our health sector and beyond, and our economies,” added Ambassador Jung Young Soo.

“We are deeply grateful for the substantial support and collaboration provided by the Republic of Korea. This has resulted in important wins, but, we must sustain these hard-won gains now and in the future,” said KOICA, WHO Officer-in-Charge Dr. Satoko Otsu.

“Doing so will require expansion of surveillance efforts, better monitoring, multi-sector collaboration, and stronger efforts by sectors beyond health – particularly agriculture and farming – to reduce the risk we face. We look forward to doing so together, and building on commendable hard work by the Government to date,” said Dr. Satoko Otsu.

Management of the factors driving AMR—primarily misuse of antimicrobials like antibiotics—and surveillance of AMR organisms, is essential to understand resistance, trends, and solutions.

KPL

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