DoH warns against threat of ‘superbugs’

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Drug’s danger The Department of Health is warning the public against using antibiotics without doctor’s prescription. Improper use of antibiotics was tagged for the rise of microbes resistant to known medications. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Health Secretary Francisco Duque on Tuesday reiterated the warning against the use of antibiotics for both human and animals without the necessary prescription from doctors or experts.

At a joint press conference held by DoH, Department of Agriculture and World Health Organization (WHO) at the Diamond Hotel Philippines during the Second RP Antimicrobial Resistance Summit the group made a united stand against the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and encouraged all sectors to work together to address this growing problem worldwide.

AMR occurs when microorganisms change after exposure to antimicrobial drugs such as antibiotics, leading to the rise of the so-called “superbugs” or microbes resistant to medication.

Duque said this is a serious global health concern as it compromises the ability to treat infectious diseases, as well as undermines many other advances in medicine in both human and animal health.

Recognizing the gravity of the risk posed by AMR, WHO representatives maintained that concerted action across all government sectors and society is required to mitigate this hazard.

“Antimicrobial resistance is a complex problem that requires concerted actions across all sectors. While it is a complex issue, there are simple solutions that each of us can do such as seeking advice from healthcare professional before taking antibiotics, never sharing antibiotics with loved ones and preventing infections at the start,” WHO representative to the Philippines Dr. Gundo Weiler said.

Duque suggested the Bureau of Animal Industry should push for the enactment of a law regulating the use of antibiotics on animals raised in farms.

A 2016 report by the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance written by a team of experts said around 700,000 people die each year globally as a result of drug-resistant infections.

The same experts fear that the figure could rise to up to 10 million globally by 2050 if action isn’t taken to limit the overuse of existing drugs and develop new ones.

A 2017 World Bank report estimates an additional 24-million people from lower and middle-income countries will be pushed into poverty if nothing was done to stop the “superbugs.”

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