The Department of Health (DOH), together with other member agencies of the Inter-Agency Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance (ICAMR), culminated the week-long celebration of the Philippine Antimicrobial Awareness Week (PAAW) highlighting the importance of the One Health approach to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR) fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic threat.

In her statement, DOH Officer-in-Charge Secretary Dr. Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire called for a collaborative, multi-sectoral, and transdisciplinary One Health approach in raising awareness on AMR and in being stewards of rational and responsible use of antimicrobials to preserve the efficacy of these important tools against infectious diseases.

“I hope that the renewal of commitment of partner agencies and expression of support of the UN Quadripartite will not just be a symbol but a reality. Likewise, our national accomplishments to mitigate AMR  hopefully further inspire and motivate all of us to keep on moving forward and to continue to build essential and meaningful partnerships that will be beneficial in our relentless fight against AMR,” said OIC Health Chief Singh-Vergeire.

The ICAMR is a multi-agency committee formed in 2014 chaired by the DOH and the Department of Agriculture (DA), and composed of pivotal government agencies which include the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). These agencies are tasked to oversee and implement the country’s National Action Plan on AMR, which links actions and interventions across the human, animal, food and environment sectors. 

Following the international theme of the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2022- Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together, the local celebration carries the theme “Sama-samang magtulungan, upang Antimicrobial Resistance ay mapigilan,” which signifies the importance of multisectoral efforts to combat the multi-faceted and cross-border issue of antimicrobial resistance.

The campaign highlights the ‘One Health’ approach, which the WHO defined as an approach that mobilizes multiple sectors, disciplines, and communities at varying levels of society to work together. Through this, new and better ideas are developed that address root causes and create long-term, sustainable solutions.

The week-long celebration was supported by the UN Quadripartite agencies composed of the World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, World Organization of Animal Health (WOAH), and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which lead global efforts and collaboration to fight AMR.
During the culminating event, ICAMR member agencies, with the support of the UN Quadripartite, expressed their renewal of commitment and pledged greater action in  the continuation of efforts to combat AMR while finding innovative solutions to ensure that national and international progress are sustained and that AMR-relevant targets as part of the Sustainable Development Goals achieved by the Philippines.

“Antimicrobial resistance is threatening our health, our lives, and our economy. Recent data shows that it contributes to nearly five million deaths a year worldwide and disproportionately affects low- and middle-income countries. WHO remains committed to supporting the Philippines in facilitating multi-sectoral collaboration to advocate and implement the One Health approach,” said Dr. Corrine Capuano of the World Health Organization, emphasizing on the impact of AMR on a global scale.

The Philippine Antimicrobial Awareness Week is annually held every November in harmony with the global celebration to improve awareness and encourage best practices among governments, policy-makers, health care professionals, patients, and the industry who all have important roles in preventing the spread and emergence and spread of AMR.