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Action urged on antibiotic overuse

0 CommentsPrint E-mail CNTV, April 9, 2011
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The theme of this year's World Health Day is "Combating Anti-Microbial Resistance, No Action Today, No Cure Tomorrow." Officials are calling for urgent corrective action around the globe, to curb the inappropriate use of antibiotics.

The emergence of antibiotics is considered a significant milestone in medical science. But anti-microbial resistance caused by antibiotic abuse or misuse, is now a major international concern, which threatens the effectiveness of many treatments.

For example, a recent investigation by the World Health Organization shows that about 440-thousand new cases of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis emerge around the world each year, causing at least 150-thousand deaths.

WHO officials are warning of an impending post-antibiotic era, in which the potency of those drugs will be seriously compromised.

The World Health Organization is proposing a six-point policy plan, including the strengthening of surveillance, to promote proper antibiotic use.

Chinese medical officials are also vowing to take stringent steps to tackle anti-microbial resistance. One focus this year, is boosting the clinical use of drugs in hospitals and health care facilities.

Ma Xiaowei, Chinese Vice Minister of Health said "We will make the use of antibiotics and other medicines an important criteria in evaluating the performance of hospitals. We will enforce strong punishment measures on doctors and hospitals who break the rules. Operating licenses may even be canceled if hospitals fail to comply with the rules."

The Health Ministry plans to step up medical staff training, and general public education, to improve awareness of the dangers of anti-microbial resistance.

Experts are also stressing the need to tackle the misuse of anti-microbials in food-producing animals, which contributes further to their emerging concerns.

Vice Health Minister Ma Xiaowei says tackling resistance to antibiotics is a key component of China's medical reform. And in the long run, this requires unlinking the income of hospitals and doctors from drug sales. The Ministry of Health will take stringent steps in this regard this year, including introducing medical care payment reforms, in county-level hospitals in particular, to cut down on over-prescription of drugs.

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