The Philippine Government and UN agencies have come together to jointly raise awareness on the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and encourage all sectors to work together in the growing global movement to address this problem. The call was raised during the 2nd Philippine AMR Summit, a collaboration between the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Agriculture (DA), World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

Antimicrobial resistance occurs when microorganisms change after exposure to antimicrobial drugs such as antibiotics. It is a serious global health concern as it compromises the ability to treat infectious diseases, as well as undermines many other advances in medicine in both human and animal health. Both the causes and consequences of this problem cut across several disciplines – not just health – affecting health security, trade and economy, and the environment.

A series of dialogues and symposia during the summit are aimed to sound the alarm louder on AMR while synthesizing inputs from various sectors on how to properly address it. The causes and consequences of this problem cut across several disciplines – not just health – affecting health security, trade and economy, and the environment. Recognizing the gravity of the risk posed by AMR, the WHO maintains that action across all government sectors and society is required to mitigate this hazard.

In the Philippines, Administrative Order No. 42 s. 2014 created the Inter-Agency Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance to formulate and implement the National Action Plan against AMR and to rationalize, harmonize, streamline, integrate, and unify the efforts of government agencies to address the problem.

The first installment of the Philippine AMR Summit in 2015 successfully launched the Philippine Action Plan to Combat AMR: One Health Approach, which highlights key strategies in fighting AMR. Now, more than ever, the summit emphasized that the causes of AMR are multifactorial, interrelated and inter-sectoral and thus necessitate the close collaboration of the disciplines involved at the local, national, and global level.

“Antimicrobial resistance is a complex problem that requires concerted action across all sectors,” said WHO Representative in the Philippines, Dr. Gundo Weiler. “While it is a complex issue, there are also simple solutions that each of us can do such as seeking advice from a healthcare professional before taking antibiotics; never sharing antibiotics with loved ones; and preventing infections at the start.”

“The Philippines is committed to lead the fight against AMR in the region and globally,” Secretary of Health Francisco T. Duque III emphasized, adding that “we recognize that AMR is a national priority, therefore, let us join our efforts in the pursuit of a better healthcare system for our countrymen. Together, let us fight and win the war against AMR.”

With the continuous support of local and international organizations and the foundation of initiatives built on sectoral and local government units, the effort to address the threat of AMR in the country and worldwide is fortified.