Health Enews

Antibiotics: Handle with care

Antibiotics are medications used in the prevention and treatment of bacterial infections. Proper use and prompt initiation to treat infection has saved many lives. In fact, much of today’s medical treatment advancement has been made possible through access to safe, proper and effective use of antibiotics, and the availability of effective antibiotics remains one of the most important components of clinical practice.

Unfortunately, available antibiotics are becoming less and less effective due to overuse and misuse. Antibiotic resistance can occur naturally, but overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics for dubious indications has speeded the growth of superbugs – bacteria that are increasingly resistant to available antibiotics – and lead to the emergence of a circumstance known as antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

In some cases these bacteria are resistant to all available antibiotics.

AMR is present in every country, Vietnam is no exception, and it therefore threatens the effective prevention and treatment of infections caused by bacteria. To add to the problem, during the last decade we have seen a significant drop in the development and approval of new antibiotics.

AMR is a serious threat to global public health that demands serious action by every single one of us at all level of society. Antibiotics resistance leads to higher medical costs, prolonged hospital stays, and increased mortality. For example, the medical costs of healthcare for patients with antibiotics-resistant infections is higher than for patients with non-resistant infections due to the longer duration of their illness, need for additional tests and use of more expensive drugs.

We have no other choice except to reduce the inappropriate use of antibiotics, which is, without any doubt, one of the most important patient safety and public global health issues, as well as a priority of every nation.

To meet and overcome this challenge, in early 2016 the Ministry of Health (MOH) of Vietnam has issued the Manual on Management of The Use of Antibiotics in Hospitals (No. 772/QĐ-BYT).

In early 2017, international healthcare accreditation body Joint Commission International (JCI) has also included a new accreditation standard in its newly released 6th Edition Standards that requires accredited hospitals to develop and implement an Antibiotics Stewardship Programme to ensure the prudent and appropriate use of antibiotics.

FV Hospital, a JCI-accredited hospital, has been developing its Antimicrobial Stewardship Programme since 2015 and will continue to strengthen the programme to meet both MOH and JCI requirements.

The hospital is committed to combatting antibiotics resistance, a stance clearly reflected during awareness-raising activities at the hospital during World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2016 from November 14 to 20, 2016.

The objective of the event was to enhance awareness of global antibiotics resistance and to encourage best practices among the general public, patients, healthcare workers, hospital administrators and policy makers to prevent the further emergence and spread of antibiotics resistance. The response to the event was positive and encouraging, with many visitors participating in the quiz on antibiotics use and antimicrobial resistance.

Antimicrobial resistance is a complex problem. A multifaceted, coordinated approach will have a greater chance of success in minimising the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance. So, please use and handle antibiotics with responsibility and care.

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