27th March 2017 A two-day workshop is currently underway at Tano’a International Hotel aiming to develop a National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance for Tonga.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the ability of a microorganism like bacteria, viruses and some parasites to stop an antimicrobial such as antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarial from working against it.
Minister for Agriculture, Food, Forestry and Fisheries Hon Semisi Fakahau in his opening address stressed that antimicrobial resistance is a global public health threat with resistant microorganism’s reaching alarming levels in many countries including Tonga.
“Frequent infectious disease outbreaks has occurred and reported in Tonga with some pathogens showing multi-drug resistance. For your information, resistance occurs when microorganisms become resistant to antimicrobial medicines and the antimicrobials no longer work in treating the infection,” he said.
“The vulnerability and weaknesses of health systems in Pacific Island Countries, including Tonga, will increase the magnitude and impact of antimicrobial resistance.”
Hon. Fakahau noted that the World Health Organization has endorsed The Action Agenda for Antimicrobial Resistance in the Western Pacific Region for member states to adopt.
“The action agenda provides action-oriented guidance on the containment of the antimicrobial resistance with the Global Action Plan. It focuses on region specific actions to strengthen national plans, raising awareness of antimicrobial resistance, improving surveillance and strengthening the capacity of health systems to contain antimicrobial resistance.”
“The development of our infection prevention control and antibiotic guideline had further strengthened our actions against antimicrobial resistance.”
He urged the participants to promote the responsible use of antibiotics by engaging the general public, health professionals and policy makers.
“Everyone play a critical roles in avoiding the further emergence of antimicrobial resistance, this is just the beginning of our fight against antimicrobial resistance and does not end here. That is your individual commitment and focused effort is so important.”
“We need to ensure that not only we are promoting the responsible use of antibiotics, we need to commit to the development of our multisectoral plan that will help identify country specific interventions against antimicrobial resistance, in both human and animal health. Again we have to do it.”
A Consultant from the WHO Headquarters in Fiji, Mr. ‘Asaeli Raikapakapa is in Nuku’alofa to help the Ministry of Health draft a National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance for Tonga.
Present at the workshop, were Medical Specialists from the Ministry of Health, CEO for MAFF, Dr. Viliami Manu and Senior Officials, CEO for Fisheries Dr. Tu’ikolongahau Halafihi and Representatives from Town Officers.
Issued by the Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications