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ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Federal Minister for National Health Services Dr Nadeem Jan on Thursday called for galvanising efforts to deal with the critical issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the country.

Addressing an event organised by the Fleming Fund Country Grant Pakistan here, the minister called for a national narrative on antimicrobial resistance which is digestive and palatable to political leaders, health professionals, and communities.

The minister suggested forming a high-level task force on AMR, which should serve as the coordination platform for efforts and initiatives on addressing antimicrobial resistance. He said the most crucial factor in containing AMR is the change in behaviour towards the use of antibiotics and recommended a comprehensive communication strategy.

Dr Jan said there is a need for revising the National Action Plan on AMR and all stakeholders should be consulted for revising the plan. He requested commitment of all stakeholders in updating the national plan on AMR.

The Fleming Fund is a UK-funded programme focusing on controlling AMR in more than 25 countries, including Pakistan, across Africa and Asia.

Managed by the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), the Fleming Fund supports governments through country and regional grants and fellowship schemes to implement AMR strategies globally, especially in low-income countries where AMR has a disproportionate impact. Since 2019, Pakistan has come a long way in terms of addressing AMR under the one Health approach.

Dr Qadeer Ahsan, Team Lead of the Fleming Fund, speaking on the occasion said that the fund has actively supported the initiatives to implement Pakistan’s National Action Plan on AMR. This cooperation at the federal and provincial levels will continue in the second phase of the grant, he said.

Dr Ahsan while sharing the achievements of the grant’s four-year work in Pakistan said the silent threat of AMR should be understood at all levels from the policymakers to the people.

He added that the people needed to know how antimicrobial resistance was adversely impacting humans, animals, and the environment. In phase II, he said the grant in collaboration with the provinces would work on developing legislation on addressing AMR.

Dr Arif Azad said AMR was a real, local, and global threat but highly preventable through urgent actions and concerted efforts by political leadership, healthcare leaders in human and animal health, laboratory and microbiological and environmental experts and policymakers and media. He termed the education of the health workforce crucial for addressing AMR.

The ceremony was also addressed by the representatives from the office of Animal Husbandry Commissioner, DG Health Services Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, DG Health Services Sindh, National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Veterinary Laboratory (NIH), National Reference Laboratory Poultry Diseases (NRLPD), and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LTSM).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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