YANG BERHORMAT DATO SERI SETIA DR HAJI ZULKARNAIN BIN HAJI HANAFI
MINISTER OF HEALTH
ON THE OCCASION OF WORLD ANTIBIOTIC
AWARENESS WEEK 2016
THEME: "HANDLE ANTIBIOTIC WITH CARE"
14- 20 November 2016
1. Prior to the introduction of antibiotics, simple bacterial infections had no effective treatment and people were getting sick and even dying from simple cuts or scratches. The discovery and subsequent introduction of antibiotics in the 1940s was a quantum leap forward in medical care and a key driver in the increase in life expectancy observed over the last few decades. However, with its overuse, misuse and widespread abuse, our ability to combat bacterial infections has been compromised by a phenomenon known as antibiotic resistance. This serious problem rising to dangerously high levels of health concern in all parts of the world including Brunei Darussalam.
2. Antibiotic resistance leads to higher medical costs, prolonged hospital stays, loss of productivity and importantly more deaths. We in Brunei Darussalam, need to do our part for global health and urgently change the way we prescribe and use antibiotics. Even if new medicines are developed, without behavior change, antibiotic resistance will remain a major threat.
3. During this Antibiotic Awareness Week held from 14 to 20 November 2016 and in line with its theme 'Antibiotics: Handle with care', we reiterate this urgent call for appropriate use of antibiotics by all sectors including human and animal health, agriculture professionals; as well as the public.
4. In support of the Ministry of Health's strategic priorities for the next five years which are to inculcate 'health is everyone's business, prevent and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and enhance the quality of service delivery, we have employed the Antibiotic Stewardship Programme as a key strategy to prevent and control the emergence of resistant organisms. Through a multidisciplinary effort involving policy makers, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and laboratory staff, we are promoting the appropriate use of antibiotics to improve patient outcomes, reduce microbial resistance, and decrease the spread of infections caused by multidrug-resistant organisms. Hand in hand with this, is infection control, including hand hygiene and strengthening environmental cleaning or sanitation to prevent the spread of resistant organisms from patient to patient.
5. The public has a vital role to play in this regard. When there is a need for antibiotic use (which is usually not necessary for simple ailments such as viral flu, runny nose and diarrhoea), we urge the public to abide by the following practices to ensure the appropriate use and effectiveness of the antibiotics:
- Only use antibiotics when prescribed by a certified health professional;
- Always take the full prescription with the correct dose, even if you feel better;
- Never use leftover antibiotics;
- Never share antibiotics with others;
- Prevent spread of infections by practicing hand hygiene and maintenance of clean environment; and
- Avoid contact with sick people and keep your vaccinations up to date.
6. We must all remember that antibiotics are a precious resource for future generations that cannot be taken for granted and should be preserved. They have allowed many serious infections to become treatable and saved millions of lives. We all have a role to play in preserving the effectiveness of antibiotics. Hence, we need to constantly raise awareness and make a collaborative effort to reduce the threat of antibiotic resistance in the country.
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