Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been identified by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organization on Animal Health (OIE), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), collectively referred to as the “Tripartite Plus,” as well as other policy makers, scientists, professionals, and civil society groups, as a global public health threat that can cause major health and economic consequences in humans, animals, and the environment.
Cognizant of the public health threats of AMR to both humankind and animal health, with consequences affecting various sectors, the Office of the President signed the Administrative Order no. 42 entitled, “Creating an Inter-Agency Committee for the Formulation and Implementation of a National Plan to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance in the Philippines,” in 2014 to bring together all key partners across different sectors to ensure efficient government response to mitigate and control AMR through the formulation, adoption, and implementation of a comprehensive national action plan. The following year, the Philippine Action Plan to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance: One Health Approach (2015-2017) was launched and published during the celebration of the 1st Philippine AMR Summit and it served as the country’s roadmap and strategy to address the AMR threat as one nation.
The “One Health Approach” recognizes the interdependence of the human, animal, environmental and economic sectors in determining the health impacts and considerations of a country. It is only through this integrated approach that AMR can be solved.
IN 2017, the Department of Health commissioned an implementation review of the Philippine Action Plan to Combat AMR 2015-2017 in order to determine the key achievements in the past years as well as the current gaps that will guide the updating of the content of the Plan. The second AMR Action Plan spanning the period of 2019-2023 was introduced in November 2018 during the 2nd Philippine AMR Summit. This plan advocates for a more collaborative approach amongst the health, animal, agriculture, trade, and education sectors. The Philippine Action Plan to Combat AMR through One Health Approach (2019-2023) was officially adopted by the ICAMR member agencies through a Joint Resolution in February 2020.
In the 2nd Action Plan for 2019-2023, the ICAMR is guided by the vision to have a nation protected against the threats of antimicrobial resistance and its mission to implement an integrated, comprehensive, and sustainable national program to address antimicrobial resistance geared towards safeguarding human and animal health, and preventing interference in agricultural, food, trade, communication, and environmental sector activities.
The Philippines multi-sectoral action plan has identified the following key strategies:
|Strategic Areas||Key Strategies|
|Implementation of the Action Plan||Commit to the Philippine National Action Plan through multi-sectoral engagement and accountability|
|Surveillance and Laboratory||Strengthen surveillance and laboratory capacity|
|Access to antimicrobials||Ensure uninterrupted access to safe and quality-assured antimicrobials|
|Optimal use of antimicrobials||Regulate and promote the rational use of antimicrobials|
|Reduction of Infection||Implement appropriate measures to reduce infection across all settings|
|Innovation and research||Promote innovation and research on AMR|
|Awareness, communication and education||Improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance through effective communication and education|
MEMBERS OF THE ICAMR
The ICAMR is composed of representatives from the following national government agencies:
Co-Chairs: Department of Health (DOH)
The duly authorized representatives of the member agencies in the Committee shall have a rank not lower than Assistant Secretary.
As the lead national agencies, the DOH and DA are delegated as Co-Chairs of the ICAMR. The DOH primarily functions to provide technical secretariat support to the committee. Together with the DA, they are both responsible for establishing policies that address AMR and ensuring that good quality antimicrobials are accessible and affordable for Filipinos. They are also tasked to regulate these agents in the market and to create essential medicines lists, treatment guidelines, systems, platforms, risk communication plans, and IEC materials for both human and veterinary use. As regards to monitoring and evaluation functions, these two agencies are also mandated to establish AMR and antimicrobial use surveillance programs.
The DOST, DILG, and the DTI are mandated to participate as members of the ICAMR. The main participation of the DTI is in the strengthening of the surveillance systems and laboratory detection capacity for AMR and its use in humans and animals by ensuring that facilities conform to international standards. The DOST functions to take lead in the prioritization of AMR in health agendas and researches aimed to develop new antimicrobials and innovative technologies to improve diagnosis and treatment. On the other hand, the DILG is responsible for the coordination and implementation of AMR policies to the local governments to ensure that strategies to address AMR reach communities and the household levels.
The ICAMR recognizes the need to strengthen the multi-sectoral collaboration and to increase the involvement of the education and environment sectors in order to maximize and scale-up the One Health Approach to combat AMR. Efforts to expand the membership of the Committee to include the following additional agencies are also underway: (1) Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR); (2) Department of Education (DepEd); (3) Commission on Higher Education (CHED); and, (4) Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
The DepEd, CHED, and TESDA will be vital members of the ICAMR to strengthen education and public awareness on AMR through effective public communication programs and advocacy campaigns that target undergraduate and graduate students, as well as the continuing education of professionals working in the human health, animal health, food, and environment sectors to
improve their understanding of AMR. Moreover, the DENR is essential in completing the environmental arm of the One Health approach. Its monitoring and policy-making powers in the environment sector, especially with industry-related pollutants, are instrumental to creating a better environment.