Lao PDR Steps Up Fight Against “super-bugs”

(KPL) The government of Lao PDR is stepping up its fight against the emergence of so-called super-bugs”: infections that do not respond to commonly used antibiotics.

Backed by international partners, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry launched on Nov 19 a National Strategic Plan against Antimicrobial Resistance 2019-2023.

This will guide a raft of planned policy measures and operational initiatives to monitor, prevent and control the emergence of drug resistant super bugs in the Lao PDR.

Antimicrobial resistance happens when microorganisms such as bacteria evolve defenses against the medicines normally used to kill them. The result is the medicine no longer cures the infection.

Misuse and overuse of antibiotics in humans, animals and plants has contributed to Antimicrobial Resistance. This is a major concern. Drug-resistant infections can kill people and cause outbreaks-particularly in hospitals. They impose huge costs to individuals and society, said Minister of Health Bounkong Syhavong.

“What happens if antibiotic drugs such as penicillin no longer work? What if there are no effective drugs against sepsis or pneumonia? Suddenly these ”minor infections” become life threatening. Just like 100 years ago. This is the prospect the world face-unless countries take action to fight the emergence of Antimicrobial Resistance. The ultimate goal of the Lao PDR’s Strategic Plan is to make sure our most valuable drugs-such as antibiotics-continue to work for decades to come,” said Mark Jacobs, WHO Representative to the Lao PDR.

The Strategic Plan will guide implementation of an operational plan on antimicrobial resistance in the Lao PDR. The plan targets five strategic objectives: improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance, strengthen the antimicrobial resistance surveillance system, improve infection prevention and control, optimize the use of antimicrobials in humans and animals and improve coordination and budget support.

By 2023, implementation of the Strategic Plan is expected to produce a strong national capacity to detect, monitor and control drug-resistant microbes in the Lao PDR.

The plan aims to reduce the use of antimicrobials in both humans and animals by 20% by 2023.

Awareness raising among health workers and patients about the need to use antibiotics wisely, ”best practice” treatment guidance for doctors and veterinarians and other initiatives to optimize how drugs are used is expected to decrease the amount of antibiotics being taken.

Work to develop the National Strategic Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance started in 2016. The leading organizations in the development process included the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

International partners including the World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, World Organization for Animal Health, Korea International Cooperation Agency and the Fleming Fund contributed technical and financial support to the development of the plan.

Source: Lao News Agency