The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) is participating in the expanded global campaign to celebrate World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, which is held from November 18 to 24 under the slogan 'United to Preserve Antimicrobials'. The Global Antimicrobial Awareness Week is an annual celebration endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) since 2015 to be a global event aimed at better understanding of the problem of antimicrobial resistance, raising awareness about it, and encouraging the fight against the exacerbation of the spread of antimicrobial resistance infections.
As resistance grows to a wider range of drugs beyond antibiotics, this year, the WHO broadened the focus of the campaign to include all antimicrobials such as antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals and anti-parasitics. The World Antimicrobial Awareness Week aims to help reduce the incorrect usage of antimicrobial medicines, and to maintain their effectiveness for as long as possible so that those who need them can get the best possible treatment.
It also aims to raise awareness of the dangers of antimicrobial resistance at the global, regional and local levels, and to encourage the implementation of best practices among the general public, policymakers, and health workers in the human and animal health as well as in other related sectors
On this occasion, Dr Abd al-Latif al-Khal, Chairman of the National Committee for Combating Anti-microbial Resistance said: "The National Committee to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance is playing an effective role and leading in improving the practices of workers in the health sector and other related sectors in order to optimise the proper use of antimicrobials, raise awareness around the increasing of antimicrobial resistance, as well as take all actions necessary to achieve the related WHO's Sustainable Development Goals."
Huda Amer al-Katheeri, Director of the Strategic Planning and Performance Department at the Ministry of Public Health, affirmed that many factors can increase the risk of antimicrobial resistance around the world, including the overuse of medicines and their misuse in humans as well as in the livestock and agricultural sectors, in addition to the lack of clean water and sanitation in certain areas of the world. She emphasised that the work to contain this problem is not limited to the celebrations of the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, but rather is a continuous process, in line with the objectives of the National Action Plan to address antimicrobial resistance.
The celebration included awareness activities to highlight the issue of antimicrobial resistance in all healthcare institutions, the animal health sector, the food safety sector, environmental health, academic institutions and others, and urged them to participate in celebrating this event to increase the optimal use of antimicrobials with appropriate medical supervision.
Awareness materials were developed and distributed across the health sector and to partners and stakeholders. Additionally, an expanded social-media campaign aimed at enhancing awareness of the antimicrobial component and the optimal use of it was launched under the theme "Unite to prevent antimicrobial resistance ". The Ministry of Public Health building was also lit in blue, based on the recommendations of the WHO.
Among the activities during this week, the Ministry of Public Health will hold a virtual scientific symposium on November 25 under the title 'United to Preserve Antimicrobials: Optimal Antimicrobial Stewardship from Theory to Practice'. The invitation is open to all specialised sectors and stakeholders in the country. The symposium is a collaboration between the Strategic Planning and Performance Department team at the Ministry of Public Health, experts from the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, Hamad Medical Corporation, Primary Health Care Corporation and Sidra Hospital.