The launch of the Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance program in Lao People’s Democratic Republic

The Ministry of Health together with the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the World Health Organization launched the Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Surveillance program in Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

To support global and country AMR surveillance, KOICA has funded the WHO project “Strengthening global and national surveillance systems through strengthening national laboratory capacities and the workforce for surveillance of AMR”. In addition to the further development of the Global AMR Surveillance System (GLASS), this grant also supports AMR surveillance development in 4 countries, namely, Jordan, Peru, Mali and Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

Speaking at the event, Associate Prof. Dr Phouthone Muongpak, Deputy Health Minister thanked the partners for their support. In order to address the issue of AMR strategically, we must first develop an evidence base and thorough understanding of the AMR patterns in our country. AMR is one of the greatest threats to global health today as all around the world, many common infections are becoming more difficult, and in some cases, no longer able to be treated, by the antibiotics that we have.

Associate Professor Dr Phouthone Muongpak, Deputy Minister for Health

This results in longer illnesses, higher treatment costs and more deaths. At the same time, not enough new drugs are being developed to replace older ones that are becoming ineffective. Without urgent action, we risk heading to a ‘post-antibiotic’ era, where simple infections and procedures can become life-threatening. AMR represents a threat to the attainment of at least 7 out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and in particular the goals related to human health.

To enhance capacity to detect and report priority antimicrobial-resistant pathogens, the objective for the program is to strengthen AMR surveillance in the human health sector, and also includes building resilient health systems, strengthening the development and use of health information for effective management and statistical reporting to decision-makers and health managers, and enhancing health security, by contributing to achieving the strategic objectives of the global and national action plans on AMR by 2021.

Dr Carmem Pessoa-Silva, the lead for WHO Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System delivered WHO opening remarks and said “In recent years, we have seen an increasing urgent global discussion on AMR and commitment to action. AMR present a threat to seven of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and endanger major country priorities like poverty reduction and human capital development.”

The main goal of the program will be strengthening the national AMR surveillance system through capacity building of the National Center for Laboratory and Epidemiology as the National Reference Laboratory and the coordinating body for the national AMR surveillance system, for the functioning and capacity of surveillance sites around the country.

A laboratory technician at the National Center for Laboratory and Epidemiology

In addition, this program will also support the Food and Drug Department’s National Drug Regulatory Authority in performing antimicrobial consumption monitoring at the national level. The success of this program depends on the joint commitment and support of all relevant stakeholders, including the government and partners from human and animal health and agriculture sectors.

The event is chaired by Dr Phouthone Muongpak, Mr Shin Sung-soon. Ambassador of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, Dr Carmem Pessoa-Silva and Dr Rattanaxay Phetsavanh, Director General of the Communicable Disease Control, Ministry of Health. Fleming Fund, Clinton Health Access Initiative and other development partners also attended the event.

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