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Public Health Thought Leadership Dialogue: 'Antimicrobial Resistance: From Knowledge to Action'

03 Nov 2017

On 1 November, Dr Lam Pin Min, Senior Minister of State for Health and Transport, announced the National Strategic Action Plan against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).

AMR is an era-defining global public health danger that occurs when microorganisms (such as bacteria, viruses or parasites) evolve and grow resistant to the antimicrobial drugs used to treat the infections they cause in humans and animals.

 
Guest of Honour, Dr Lam Pin Min, Senior Minister of State for Health and Transport, announcing the National Strategic Action Plan.

 “The extreme scenario of AMR – of having no effective antibiotics to treat infections, will bring us to a post-antibiotic era where simple infections may kill. Even today, there exist infections that do not respond to many treatment options. We must therefore take action now,” said Dr Lam.

He was speaking at the School’s Public Health Thought Leadership Dialogue (PHTLD) on Wednesday as the Guest of Honour.

The 7th instalment of the School’s PHTLD series, ‘Antimicrobial Resistance: From Knowledge to Action’ featured Professor Keiji Fukuda, Director of the School of Public Health at The University of Hong Kong.

 
Prof Fukuda delivering his talk on AMR.

In his talk, Prof Fukuda stressed that the fight against AMR is not just limited within the areas of science and medicine. Instead, the problem requires a whole-of-society approach, including focus on policy-driven research, raising awareness in food consumers, and innovating sustainable agricultural and veterinary practices in the use of antimicrobial drugs.

 
The panellist from left: A/Prof Vernon Lee, A/Prof Helena Legido-Quigley, Prof Keiji Fukuda, Prof Patricia Conway and A/Prof Hsu Li Yang.

Prof Fukuda’s talk was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Associate Professor Hsu Li Yang, who leads the School’s Antimicrobial Resistance Programme. The other panellists were Professor Patricia Conway, Visiting Professor at Nanyang Technological University; Associate Professor Vernon Lee, Director of the Communicable Diseases Division at the Ministry of Health; and Associate Professor Helena Legido-Quigley from SSHSPH.

The panellists discussed a range of topics associated with battling AMR. These included the probability of using other compounds for prevention and treatment of diseases, the feasibility of reducing use of antibiotics in farming, the current status of rapid diagnostics development to differentiate infectious disease and thus strength of antimicrobial drugs needed, changing public behaviour towards antimicrobial drugs, and ways to regulate the profit-driven distribution of the drugs.

The panel had a stimulating discussion on a range of topics associated with battling AMR and addressed questions from the audience, which included local and regional public health experts and policymakers.

 
Dr Yot Teerawattananon, Founding Leader of the Health Intervention and Technology Assessment Program (HITAP), a semi-autonomous health technology assessment agency under the auspices of Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health.

Read about Singapore’s plan to tackle AMR here.

Watch the Public Health Thought Leadership Dialogue - Antimicrobial Resistance: From Knowledge to Action.

View more photos in the Media Gallery.

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