Statement of Dr Kidong Park on the occasion of the Viet Nam Antibiotic Awareness Week 2017 Launch 13 November 2017, Vinh Phuc province

Dr Kidong Park
13 November 2017, Vinh Phuc province

On behalf of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), I welcome all of you to the launch of the Viet Nam Antibiotic Awareness Week 2017.

The Antibiotic Awareness Week 2017 is the third time that the world dedicates one full week in November to raise awareness about antimicrobial resistance, in particular antibiotic resistance. This week is also the third time that Viet Nam observes the Antibiotics Awareness Week and that FAO and WHO join the government of Viet Nam in this campaign. It is an excellent example of various sectors joining forces to raise the general public’s awareness about a major health issue that requires action from all parts of the society.

The rise of antimicrobial resistance is a global crisis. The estimated death toll due to AMR is around 700,000 per year globally. However, the current burden of AMR is just the tip of the iceberg, compared to the future burden of AMR. If we fail to control AMR, the death toll due to AMR will increase up to 10 million per year by 2050, which is more than the estimates for cancer and ten times more that for diabetes.

The rise of antimicrobial resistance is a crisis in Viet Nam too. We have alarming research findings on high rates of penicillin-resistant Pneumococcal bacteria in Viet Nam. An even more alarming report is the emergence of carbapenem-resistant bacteria in Viet Nam. It is very worrisome that to treat these antibiotic-resistant infections, we are already unable to use some of the first, second- and third-choice antibiotics.

Ladies and gentlemen,

AMR is found in people, animals, food, and the environment. It can spread between people and animals, and from person to person. There is room for improvement in the prescription and consumption patterns of antibiotics both at healthcare provider and consumer side. Antibiotics use in the animal health sector should be further rationalized too.

Yes, it is true that we need political commitment at the highest level of government to tackle AMR crisis.
Yes, it also is true that every sector – health, agriculture, environment, trade and industry - must play their part.

Ladies and gentlemen,

small actions by each individual of handling antibiotics with care can stop the spread of AMR and make the world healthier.
This year our campaign message is: stop misuse of antibiotics, combat AMR. This is a call to action to every one of you.
During the event today we will learn about what you can do to protect yourself, your family and community from antibiotic resistance. I encourage you talk to your partner, parents, children and friends about how to use antibiotics responsibly.

Start spreading the word already today by joining the One Million Pledges campaign, launched this morning by the WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific, Dr Shin Young-soo. Within the next 12 months this regional campaign aims to collect one million pledges to stop the misuse of antibiotics. Visit this website and together let’s put Viet Nam at the top of the list of countries committed to combating antimicrobial resistance.

I wish you all an interesting day ahead and good health.

Thank you. Xin cam on.

Dr Kidong Park