PUTRAJAYA: A five-year action plan on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been launched to prevent the spread of drug-resistant infections in the country.
Jointly developed by agencies under the Health Ministry and the Agriculture and Agro-Based Ministry, the plan aims to promote rational usage of antibiotics in both the human and animal health sectors.
“AMR is a situation where the antibiotics prescribed to a patient cannot kill or stunt the growth of the bacteria that is causing the illness or disease,” Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said at the launch of the action plan here yesterday.
“One of the main causes of AMR is the misuse and overprescription of antibiotics at health facilities.
“The overuse of antibiotics in the livestock and aquaculture sector also contributes to the rise in AMR.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organisation and World Organisation of Animal Health have worked closely to develop ‘best practices’ that could curb the spread of AMR.
“This includes promoting the rational use of antibiotics.”
Dr Subramaniam said the Malaysian Action Plan on AMR 2017-2021 outlines strategies and activities that will be taken by all agencies involved in tackling the rise of the problem in the country.
He said a global study in 2016 revealed that an average of 700,000 deaths worldwide every year are linked to AMR.
“If its spread is not controlled, it is predicted that 10 million people could die because of AMR by 2050,” he added.
Therefore, it is important for Malaysians to be aware of AMR and not seek antibiotics unnecessarily, he stressed.
“If there is no need for antibiotics, do not ask for it.
“The common cold, for example, can be cured without the use of antibiotics.
“We have already restricted over-the-counter sales of antibiotics. We must also increase awareness among health practitioners not to overprescribe antibiotics.”
Also present were Agriculture and Agro-Based Industries Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek and WHO head of mission and representative to Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore Dr Ying Ru-Lo.