Helping Iraq’s Ministry of Health battle antimicrobial resistance

ANTIMICROBIAL resistance (AMR) is a growing and silent pandemic that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) can successfully be addressed through collaborative efforts and multifaceted approaches and so have developed the ‘Antimicrobial Resistance Global Action Plan’ (AMR GAP) to contribute to a worldwide determination in discovering a solution.

Now, an expert in clinical pharmacy from the University of Huddersfield has been supporting the WHO with the global delivery of their Action Plan by hosting virtual workshops for hospital pharmacists and key focal representatives involved in antimicrobial surveillance and stewardship in Iraq.

Dr Mamoom Al Deyab is a Senior Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacy within the University’s School of Applied Sciences. Through the delivery of the workshops, he was able to distribute and explain the essential and technical expert advice issued by the WHO to Iraq’s Ministry of Health and the benefits of documenting antimicrobial usage and consumption at the hospital level, particularly for the highest priority and critically important antimicrobials, as classified by the WHO.

During the two-day workshop Dr Al Deyab further enforced the need to establish surveillance of antimicrobial consumption in hospitals, the utility of antimicrobial consumption data in informing antimicrobial stewardship and elaborated on the WHO’s methodology in collecting, analysing and reporting the data.

“Hospital antimicrobial consumption provides an essential tool for informing and guiding national antimicrobial stewardship efforts,” said Dr Al Deyab, who added that the World Health Organisation was supporting the establishment of national action plans and the development of national surveillance in order to provide estimates that could be used for optimising antimicrobial use and controlling resistance.

The Global Action Plan for Antimicrobial Resistance

The WHO’s Global Action Plan addresses the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance via a set number of strategic objectives. These include improving awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance, strengthen knowledge through surveillance and research, optimising the use of antimicrobial agents, and develop the economic case for sustainable investment that considers the needs of all countries and relevant interventions.

Dr Al Deyab said the overall aim of the workshop was to aid Iraq’s Ministry of Health by providing advice to key pharmacy professionals on how to effectively consolidate the long term surveillance of antimicrobial use and resistance in the country, thereby guiding stakeholders to choose the best policies and strategies used to combat the problem.

Professor Barbara Conway, Head of Department of Pharmacy at University of Huddersfield said: “It is of vital importance that we work together to understand, monitor and educate about the sustainable use of our vital antibiotics to address the global issue of antibiotic resistance.”

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