Spread of antimicrobial resistance now a growing concern

Speakers at a workshop have said that the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an issue of growing global concern. It is often cited as one of the most critical threats to global health, food security and development. Tackling AMR requires a coordinated, collaborative and multidisciplinary approach, which consists of the collaboration of stakeholders from a range of sectors, including human health, animal health, environment, agriculture and WASH (One Health), they added. 

ARK Foundation, an NGO working on health and development, arranged workshop titled ‘Community Engagement and One Health Approach to Address Antimicrobial Resistance: Opportunities and Challenges’ on December 22. The workshop was conducted through the zoom platform with the stakeholders from different levels and sectors. 

Moderated by the Executive Director and Professor of Department of Economics of Dhaka University Prof Dr Rumana Huque, the workshop was joined, among others, by former Director Generals of Health Services Prof Abul Faiz and Prof Shah Munir Hossain, former Director of Primary Healthcare and DAI-Fleming 

Fund Dr. Khaleda Islam, Director of IEDCR Prof Tahmina Shirin, Prof Dr Kausar Afsana of James P Grant School of Public Health, Principal Scientific Officer of IEDCR Dr. Zakir Hossain Habib, Deputy Programme Manager of Center for Disease Control Dr Anindo Rahman, Evaluator (Center for Disease Control) Dr Shahriar Rizvi, Southeast Asia One Health University Network Representative Dr. ANM Ehteshamul Kabir, Associate Professor of BSMMU Dr Debatosh Paul, Professor of Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Science University Dr. Amam Zonaid Siddiqui, Technical Advisor of The Union Advocate Syed Mahbubul Alam Tahin, Research Associate of ARK Foundation Dr Fariza Fieroze and Senior Research Associate Zunayed Al Azdi. 

Prof Rumana Huque commenced by addressing one of the projects of her organization (Community Dialogue to address Antimicrobial resistance in Bangladesh) where she highlighted the research findings by stating, “One of the best ways to increase awareness about AMR within the community is through Community Engagement because through this process both identification of the problem and solution to the problem will be brought out by the Community people themselves.”  

Prof Abul Faiz said, “We need to focus more on prevention of diseases so that the dependency on Antibiotics is completely eliminated and that is why the public needs to be made aware about proper sanitation, food safety and waste disposal.” 

Prof Shah Munir Hossain elaborated the reasons why Antibiotic Resistance is increasing by stating, “The responsibility of Antibiotic resistance is on the shoulders of both the pharmacists and health care providers along with the irrational usage of antibiotics by the general people.” 

Dr Khaleda Islam reiterated the importance of Antibiotic Resistance by urging the DGDA (Director General of Drug Administration) to change the colour of the Antibiotic medicinal strip to Red which will signal a caution to both the user and the seller.

Prof Tahmina Shirin mentioned, “The government has an established policy on the usage of the Antibiotics but the implementation is very weak, thus now it is high time to implement these policies by modifying the strategies.” 

Prof Dr. Kausar Afsana said, “One Health approach is vital and in order to make this approach successful, we have to identify and involve the key stakeholders of the Animal Sector, Agricultural Sector and WASH Sector.”