Antimicrobial resistance a serious public health threat: Deputy Health Minister

First published in The Sun Daily

KUALA LUMPUR: Antimicrobial resistance or drug resistance is becoming a serious public health threat in Malaysia.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahya said the drug resistance threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi.
He attributed this problem to doctors over-prescribing antibiotics to patients.
“Its a known fact that doctors often prescribe antibiotics as they presume patients expect it. This pattern creates a perception among the rakyat that antibiotics hasten the cure for trivial infections,” he said at the launch of the National Antibiotic Awareness Week campaign at the Hospital Kuala Lumpur, today.
Citing examples, he said, the National Surveillance on Antibiotic Resistance Report showed that vancomycin resistance in Enterococcus faecium, which are bacterial strains of the genus Enterococcus that are resistant to the antibiotic, have increased to 9.4% in 2014 from 8.4% in 2013.
Streptococcus pneumonia resistant towards erythromycin also showed an increasing trend last year to 35.7%.
Dr Hilmi advised patients to always check with their doctors if antibiotics is a necessity to treat their condition.
This, he said, was to avert people from becoming drug resistant and if they do then stronger medications will be needed to treat their condition when hospitalised.
“Stronger medications will have severe side effects,” he warned.
Consultant and Infectious Disease Physician, Datuk Dr Christopher Lee urged doctors to practice evidence based treatments on their patients and not just prescribe them with antibiotics.
He also urged patients not to be over-dependent on antibiotics.

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