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Qatar tribune

Tribune News Network


The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean organised a regional meeting titled ‘Data for Action: Using antibiotic consumption data to improve prescription and stewardship activities’ from May 13 to 15.

A total of 50 representatives from 11 countries in the Eastern Mediterranean region participated, along with experts from the WHO headquarters in Geneva, regional and country offices, as well as the World Organisation for Animal Health, the Gulf Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, and universities such as the University of Washington and the University of Melbourne.

The meeting discussed the effective use of several data sources on antimicrobial consumption by the participating countries, as well as developing a roadmap for the next three to five years for the effective use of this data to enhance policy-making processes and to improve the prescription and use of antibiotics by healthcare providers and the public.

Antimicrobial resistance poses a significant threat to public health globally, particularly in the Eastern Mediterranean region, where data shows a growing resistance among several microorganisms to multiple medications. The ability for organisms to become resistant to medications is known as multi-drug resistance (MDR). This resistance makes the treatment of common infectious diseases challenging, occasionally leading to increased mortality rates, especially among vulnerable groups such as the elderly, children, and those with compromised immune systems. The most significant factor driving antimicrobial resistance is the improper use of antibiotics, a particularly acute issue in the 22 countries within the Eastern Mediterranean region, as some are currently facing conflicts that weaken their healthcare systems.

Dr Jameela Al Ajmi, the National focal point for Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Prevention & Control at the Ministry of Public Health, stated, “[The Ministry of Public Health] has taken several steps to improve the use of data generated through our national AMC surveillance systems, [and we are honoured to] take this opportunity to share our experience with the rest of the countries in our region.”

Dr Abdullatif Alkhal, chair of the National AMR Committee in Qatar, commented, “Antimicrobial resistance is a global public health problem that requires collaborative efforts across [all] sectors and countries to be able to reduce the burden of the problem. The spread of MDROs [multi-drug resistant organisms] does not respect country borders. Hence, collaboration such as this regional meeting is an integral part of our journey to control the increase in AMR. We look forward to working together to move the agenda of AMR forward while leaving no one behind.”

Dr Rana Hajjeh, director of Programme Management at WHO EMRO, noted, “Our aim is to improve the access, availability, and use of antibiotics through proper market shaping. This would require building capacity for our national drug regulators and country officials to better use available antibiotics consumption data to support decision making.”

Dr Rayana Bou Haka, WHO’s representative in Qatar, stated, “The joint organisation of this important regional meeting is an opportunity to showcase the synergies and collaborative efforts of MoPH Qatar and WHO towards this critical health issue. It is also an opportunity for Qatar Health institutions to transfer knowledge and provide their technical capacity, [thus] serving the regional health agenda.”

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