Singapore

Mission launched to fight antibiotics-resistant microbes

Microbes are becoming increasingly resistant to drugs, largely caused by the overuse or abuse of medication like antibiotics.

Should antibiotics be no longer effective, then even simple infections could kill.

To fight this, Singapore set up an inter-ministerial committee called the One Health workgroup in January, to provide a whole-of-government effort to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Yesterday, Senior Minister of State for Health and Transport Lam Pin Min launched the group's National Strategic Action Plan on AMR.

Speaking at the Public Health Thought Leadership Dialogue on AMR, Dr Lam said the plan includes educating the public on the problem and what they can do.

The One Health agencies will also work with professionals and industry.

Professor K. Fukuda of the University of Hong Kong who gave the main lecture said there is a growing shortage of effective antibiotics.

The last new class of antibiotics hit the markets in 1987.

Prof Fukuda pointed to agriculture as a major cause of AMR.

In the US, more than 70 per cent of antibiotics are used on animals, he said.

Resistance can develop along the food chain as people eat these animals, or through the waste water containing traces of antibiotics.

- THE STRAITS TIMES

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