By Passant Hisham
KUWAIT: The World Health Organization Kuwait and Kuwait health ministry hosted a National Antimicrobial Symposium on Monday to mark World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW). Under the global theme for WAAW, ‘Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together’, the symposium brought together a diverse array of healthcare stakeholders. The event aimed to encourage stakeholders to establish a robust hospital antimicrobial stewardship program and address the rising issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
The objective of the symposium was to raise awareness on the WHO’s antimicrobial resistance stewardship, as well as highlight the ministry’s national action plan’s significance, encouraging healthcare professionals to be cautious when prescribing antibiotics and reflect on its associated risks with overprescribing. Furthermore, this event provided an essential platform for engaging in meaningful dialogues with decision-makers, working together to address the impact of AMR at a national level.
During his opening remarks, Dr Munther Al-Hasawi, Acting Assistant Undersecretary for Public Health Affairs at the Ministry of Health, expressed the impactful collaboration between WHO and MoH for embarking on a transformative journey to host the National Antimicrobial Symposium, fueled by a shared dedication to ‘Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together’.
Dr Hasawi highlighted the efforts of the ministry of health, including antimicrobial stewardship programs within local healthcare facilities. He emphasized the importance of realizing that it’s a shared responsibility of every human being to work on addressing the issues associated with misuse and overuse of antimicrobials, for the sake of shaping a better health outcome for the future generations.
Dr Assad Hafeez, WHO Representative in Kuwait, reiterated the need for multi-sectoral collaboration to implement antimicrobial stewardship, highlighting antimicrobial resistance as one of the top 10 global public health hazards and threats facing humanity. He pointed out that antibiotics are becoming increasingly ineffective as drug resistance spreads globally, leading to difficult infections and deaths.
“If we don’t change the way antibiotics are used now, even if new antibiotics are discovered, they will suffer the same fate as the current ones,” he warned. Dr Hafeez celebrated this gathering as a means of shedding light on the successful antimicrobial resistance initiatives in Kuwait as well as in the region.
Dr Ahlam Jeragh, Consultant Microbiologist and Head Of Department of Medical Laboratories at Adan Hospital, told Kuwait Times on her concern to raise awareness about the proper usage of antibiotics by only selling them under prescription and following the exact doses and amount instructed by the doctor to avoid the serious harm caused by developing antimicrobial resistance, that might lead to death.
Dr Abeer Omar, Head of Surveillance Department, Infection Control Directorate, said: “Tackling the issue of antimicrobial resistance is not the responsibility of a few, but of us all. The misuse and overuse of antimicrobials, occurring in various sectors, are the main drivers of AMR. We need to work together as one in Kuwait to be able to address this challenge.”
Speaking to Kuwait Times, Dr Abeer Omar shed light on Kuwait’s initiatives to combat antimicrobial resistance through the following initiatives: Raising awareness about the harms and precautions of using antibiotics in the society and health sector, taking measures to combat infections within health facilities, constant monitoring for antibiotic-resistant germs, and creating an antibiotic stewardship program that aims to maximize the effective usage of antibiotics.
In line with the global campaign aimed at raising awareness and inspiring action among One Health stakeholders, this partnership aspires to address the emergence and spread of drug-resistant pathogens. The event was a testament of the dedication between WHO Kuwait and the ministry of health’s ongoing efforts to work collaboratively to improve health outcomes in Kuwait.