Vietnam, UK sign agreement to fight antimicrobial resistance

HCMC - Vietnam and the United Kingdom will join hands to fight antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in Vietnam for the 2021-2023 period, according to a Memorandum of Understanding signed on November 26 on the occasion of World Antibiotic Awareness Week.

The signing ceremony took place at the headquarters of the Ministry of Health on November 26 – PHOTO: COURTESY OF UK EMBASSY IN VIETNAM

The agreement was signed by the Medical Service Administration under the Vietnamese Ministry of Health, the representative office of pharma group GSK in HCMC and the British Embassy in Vietnam, the Vietnam News Agency reported.

The partnership aims to support the Vietnam Government’s long-term strategy articulated in the “National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance” and aligns with the initiatives of the UK Government to support developing countries in solving the AMR problem.

“The National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance for the 2013-2020 period and development of a strategy for the next five years are among the most important focuses of the health sector,” said Assoc. Prof. Luong Ngoc Khue, director of the Medical Service Administration and deputy head of the Vietnam National Steering Committee for AMR.

“With the companionship of the UK Government and companies in the health sector such as GSK, the fight against AMR in Vietnam will be approached in a more comprehensive way. Ongoing medical training programs for healthcare professionals and awareness raising support as well as community education are also planned to improve the effectiveness of fighting against this medical burden,” he added.

The partnership is expected to support capability building and medical education for healthcare professionals for community-acquired respiratory infections, provide end-to-end healthcare solutions from prevention to treatment and enhance access to world-class antibiotics and vaccines. It also aims to increase awareness over AMR’s burden and build an understanding of appropriate antibiotic use in the community to prevent AMR in the future. 

Speaking at the ceremony, British Ambassador to Vietnam Gareth Ward said, “The UK is committed to working with Vietnam to tackle health issues such as AMR and we have raised the level of ambition within our strategic partnership agreement. Antimicrobial resistance is becoming a global health crisis and we need to increase our collective efforts to address this challenge in order to secure the health and wellbeing of our future generations.”

AMR is one of the world’s most critical healthcare challenges. It occurs when microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change in ways that render the medications used to cure the infections they cause ineffective.

In Vietnam, the rates of AMR are among the highest in Asia, leading to thousands of deaths annually. There are many factors contributing to the spread of AMR such as overcrowded healthcare facilities, a lack of laboratory resources, insufficient trained staff to detect the issue and the inappropriate use of antibiotics by patients, pharmacists and doctors.