National Action for Global Change on Antimicrobial Resistance
For almost three decades now, the Philippines has been monitoring antimicrobial resistance (AMR) through its Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Program that analyzes data from 24 sentinel sites (hospitals) across 14 regions of the country. With the stronger call for action by the World Health Organization (WHO), the country committed to combat AMR using the Six-Point Policy Package to Combat AMR at the 62nd WHO Regional Committee Meeting of the Western Pacific in 2011. This prompted the creation of the AMR Technical Working Group within the Department of Health (DOH) that worked with the WHO in the conduct and completion of the Country Situation Analysis on AMR.
From 2012 to 2013, numerous consultative meetings and strategic planning sessions were held with the aim of producing a coherent programme of action to contain the AMR problem. Due to advocacy for more solid action to address the problem, Administrative Order 42 (series of 2014) was signed by then President Benigno S. Aquino III that created the Inter-Agency Committee on AMR tasked to formulate and implement a national plan to combat AMR.
In 2015, the Philippine Action Plan to Combat AMR: One Health Approach was formally launched at the First Philippine AMR Summit. This was the highlight of the country’s commemoration of the World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW). Being one of the first five countries in Western Pacific to have national action plan on AMR, the country was able to start ahead on various important initiatives. In partnership with the WHO, the DOH was able to conduct pilot training-workshops on the WHO Antimicrobial Stewardship Advocacy Package engaging pilot government hospitals, and complete First Philippine Antimicrobial Consumption Report (2011-2013).
In 2016, the country scaled up its work towards meeting the targets set in the National Action Plan. This year’s WAAW was used as the venue to launch the Philippine Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) Toolkit which comprised of three important resources: the National Antibiotics Guidelines, Manual of Procedures for Implementing AMS Program in Hospitals, and the Philippine Antimicrobial Use Monitoring Methods Guide. Philippines also became the first country to provide antimicrobial consumption data (covering the period of 2011 to 2015) to the WHO using WHO standardized methodology.
In its efforts to improve awareness of the public on AMR, the DOH also staged national competitions as part of awareness building: poster making for elementary students; storybook making for high school students; and, infomercial and infographics making for college students and young professionals. A total of nine institutions were awarded as this year’s AMR Warriors in recognition of their contributions to addressing the AMR problem in the country. The WAAW celebration was also participated in by all DOH regional offices all over the country through public fora, community lectures and pledge signing. Various advocacy events were also organized by various student groups, universities, church-based organizations, trade associations, and professional societies.