Bhutan Observer
World Health Day highlights grave health concern
Administrator, April 08, 2011
Health Minister Zangley Dukpa addressing the World Health Day gathering at the RIHS in Thimphu yesterday
Thimphu: Bhutan observed the World Health Day yesterday in Thimphu. With the theme ‘Combat antimicrobial resistance’, the day focused on creating awareness on using antibiotic rationally. Growing threat of anti-microbial resistance or AMR (microorganisms developing the ability to withstand the effects of drugs) is cause of a grave health concern for nations around the world. The practice of self-medication, not completing a prescribed course of treatment, access to antimicrobials from shops without prescription, overprescribing of antimicrobials, unnecessary treatment of viral infection with antibiotics, and extensive use of antibiotics as growth promoters and preventive agent by animal health professionals are some of the causes of AMR. Speaking to a gathering of health officials and members of the public, the health minister, Lyonpo Zangley Dukpa, said AMR is a problem with common cause and common solution. So, everyone in the country - including policy makers and planners, practitioners and prescribers, the public and patients, pharmacist and dispensers, and health professionals - should think, act, and take moral, social and professional responsibilities to combat AMR in Bhutan. He added that Bhutan requires collective and well-coordinated national efforts to combat the problem. Medical professionals say that the microbes or disease-causing microscopic organisms are becoming increasingly resistant to most of the available antimicrobial medicines such as antibiotics. Now the problem is the production of new antimicrobials to replace increasingly ineffective drugs. In recognition of the looming threat of AMR in Bhutan, the ministry of health undertook some measures like putting in place legal and regulatory instruments such as the Medicine Act of Bhutan, Bhutan medicine rules and regulations, national drug policy, and the national guideline for rational use of antibiotics. Besides, the Drug Regulatory Authority monitors medical practices, provides mandatory training to all new doctors and health workers on rational use of antibiotics, and revises the essential drug list every two years. The advent of vaccination and subsequent discovery of antimicrobials are among the greatest achievements in the field of medicine, primarily in the areas of infectious disease prevention and control.  However, AMR, medical experts say, is now threatening to reverse all the achievements made possible by antimicrobials in the past half century. By Ugyen Wangchuk