Timor Leste gears up to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
A multi stakeholders' meeting on emerging threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) by the Ministry of Health (MoH), supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO) Country office, took place on November 18, 2015 at Hotel Timor in Dili.
As many as 40 delegates participated in the meeting and represented the MoH, National Hospital, National Health Laboratory at the central level, four MoH regional hospitals and 12 MoH municipality hospitals. Also present were private practitioners from Dili municipality.
The primary goal of the meeting was to (i) share information (ii) identify antimicrobial resistance (AMR) focal point for the MoH at the regional level and in each municipality and (iii) establish AMR National Coordination mechanism including a National Task Force.
Speaking at the occasion, the WHO Representative (WR), Dr Rajesh Pandav said, “World Antibiotics Awareness week 16-22nd November" and WHO’s global campaign - 'Antibiotics: handle with care' aim to raise awareness and encourage best practices among the public, policymakers, health and agriculture professionals to avoid the furtherance and spread of antibiotic resistance.
The coming together of various stakeholders helped accomplish the aforesaid goals, which can potentially check the AMR menace at an early stage in Timor Leste. AMR focal points from four regions and 12 municipal corporations were identified, a 12-member taskforce including WHO as a member was formed.
WHO also provided a wide range of Information Communication and Education (ICE) materials to each regional and municipal focal points.
Mr Jose dos Reis Magno, Director General, MoH, in his talk acknowledged the timeliness and need of the meeting. "It is important that we take immediate cognisance of AMR and the need to educate our community on rational use of medicine before it's too late," he said.
The National Director, Hospital Support and Services who oversees AMR in the MoH, Dr Horacio Sarmento concurred with Dr Magno. He further stressed on the need to have a national action plan for AMR. “One of our immediate objectives is to come up with national AMR action plan, which will be based on WHO’s global action plan for AMR.