The Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in coordination with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) have launched a campaign to raise public awareness on responsible use of antibiotics.
The campaign calls on individuals, groups, organisations and communities to perform their role in order to end antibiotic abuse in hospitals, farms and households.
According to WHO, World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) takes place annually on November 18 – 24, aiming to globally raise public awareness on antimicrobial resistance and encourage the best practices in the community, among healthcare workers and policy makers in order to prevent the emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) 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 "responsible use of antibiotics", aiming to call on people to take action against antimicrobial resistance as an overarching principle demonstrated by protecting themselves, society and future generations.
Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Truong Son underlined the importance to raise public awareness on antibiotic use in accordance with the five right rules, especially in the context of complicated developments of COVID-19.
Medical establishments at all levels need to focus on improving and optimising the safe and rational use of antibiotics, contributing to the prevention of drug resistance in treatment and for the future, he said.
According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien, the overuse of antibiotics in the livestock, aquaculture and horticulture industries poses a risk for emergence and spread of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms.
The ministry has worked to phase out the use of antimicrobials for growth promotion, Tien said, adding that the ministry is working with producers to maintain animal health, and improve productivity.
Dr Kidong Park, WHO Representative in Vietnam, said antibiotic resistance is a fundamental threat to human health and one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity.
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, he noted.
Issues related antibiotic resistance must be addressed urgently, through the 'One Health' approach, involving strong and long-term commitments from governments and other stakeholders, he said, adding that WHO stands ready to assist governments in ensuring the accessibility and effectiveness of essential medicines in the future.
Remi Nono Womdim, FAO Representative in Vietnam, said taking actions to combat 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, he said.