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"DOH, DA, AND UN AGENCIES CALL FOR UNITED FIGHT AGAINST ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE”

            The Philippine Government and UN agencies have come together to jointly raise awareness on the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and encourage all sectors to work together in the growing global movement to address this problem. The call was raised during the 2nd Philippine AMR Summit, a collaboration between the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Agriculture (DA), World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

        

            Antimicrobial resistance occurs when microorganisms change after exposure to antimicrobial drugs such as antibiotics. It is a serious global health concern as it compromises the ability to treat infectious diseases, as well as undermines many other advances in medicine in both human and animal health. Both the causes and consequences of this problem cut across several disciplines – not just health – affecting health security, trade and economy, and the environment.

        

            A series of dialogues and symposia during the summit are aimed to sound the alarm louder on AMR while synthesizing inputs from various sectors on how to properly address it. The causes and consequences of this problem cut across several disciplines – not just health – affecting health security, trade and economy, and the environment. Recognizing the gravity of the risk posed by AMR, the WHO maintains that action across all government sectors and society is required to mitigate this hazard.

            In the Philippines, Administrative Order No. 42 s. 2014 created the Inter-Agency Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance to formulate and implement the National Action Plan against AMR and to rationalize, harmonize, streamline, integrate, and unify the efforts of government agencies to address the problem.

           The first installment of the Philippine AMR Summit in 2015 successfully launched the Philippine Action Plan to Combat AMR: One Health Approach, which highlights key strategies in fighting AMR. Now, more than ever, the summit emphasized that the causes of AMR are multifactorial, interrelated and inter-sectoral and thus necessitate the close collaboration of the disciplines involved at the local, national, and global level.

            “Antimicrobial resistance is a complex problem that requires concerted action across all sectors,” said WHO Representative in the Philippines, Dr. Gundo Weiler. “While it is a complex issue, there are also simple solutions that each of us can do such as seeking advice from a healthcare professional before taking antibiotics; never sharing antibiotics with loved ones; and preventing infections at the start.”

 

            “The Philippines is committed to lead the fight against AMR in the region and globally,” Secretary of Health Francisco T. Duque III emphasized, adding that “we recognize that AMR is a national priority, therefore, let us join our efforts in the pursuit of a better healthcare system for our countrymen. Together, let us fight and win the war against AMR.”

            With the continuous support of local and international organizations and the foundation of initiatives built on sectoral and local government units, the effort to address the threat of AMR in the country and worldwide is fortified.

"Accelerating CHANGE: Access to Generics Towards Universal Health Care”

 

        Thirty years after the landmark Generics Act of 1988 and ten years after the Cheaper Medicines Act of 2008, the Department of Health (DOH) presented its newest medium-term Philippine Medicines Policy (PMP) 2018-2022 to provide a roadmap for promoting and improving access to medicines as part of the bigger agenda of attaining Universal Health Care.

 

        

        In the two-day forum, researchers from all over the country presented policy-relevant research in key access to medicine reform areas. The 19 researches span the six pillars of the PMP 2018-2022, summarized as CHANGE:

1) Commitment to safety, efficacy, and quality,

2) Health literacy and empowerment,

3) Availability and affordability,

4) Networking and partnerships,

5) Good governance, accountability, and transparency

6) Ensuring responsible use."

        

        The DOH also reported gains in its advocacy for generic medicines which are now more available and better accepted by health providers and the Filipino public.

 

       

        All the presentations can be viewed and downloaded in this link

 

“Mover of Good Pharmacy Practices in Public Health Facilities Convene for Annual Pharmacist Training”

 

       Since 2011, the Department of Health (DOH) has been deploying licensed pharmacists to its regional health offices and Local Government Units (LGUs) to initially monitor the movement of health commodities provided to health facilities. During the course of program implementation, however, the Pharmaceutical Division (PD) realized the need to go beyond the provision of essential medicines and expand the goals towards improving Supply Chain Management (SCM) and community pharmacy services. Technical assistance with monitoring health commodities was established in LGUs from 2011-2015.

 

         In support of the deployment of the PHPs, the Pharmaceutical Division (PD) through the Program Implementation and Monitoring Unit (PIMU) has been conducting capacity building by providing our pharmacists with short courses relevant to the demands in their field.

 

       In time with the execution of President Duterte’s directive to bridge the gap on access to medicines, the revitalization of the “Botika ng Bayan” is being pursued by the DOH. The establishment of the FOURmula One Plus Botika ng Bayan and Botika ng Bayani (F1+ BNB and BNBi) will not only provide additional medicines but will also result in improved public health pharmacy services.  The DOH will make these services available through the Public Health Pharmacists (PHPs) to be assisted by the Pharmacy Assistants (PAs) who will be deployed to the rural health units and health centers.

       This year’s annual training was intended to provide PHPs with the knowledge and skills needed to manage F1+ BNB and BNBi. It highlighted the technical, social and administrative concepts required to effectively facilitate access to medicines and health services in the context of the government system. The PD-PIMU together with the team of Ms. Leonila Ocampo, PD hired consultant for Botika ng Bayan (BNB), conceptualized this year’s theme entitled “Potentiating the Roles of the Pharmacists and the Pharmacy Support Workforce in the Public Health Facilities”. The 1st batch of PHPs was convened in Nature’s Village Resort in Talisay, Negros Occidental July 25 - 26, 2018.

 

        The 2-day event started with the orientation on the pending Bill on Universal Healthcare and the DOH’s Health Sector Reforms through the execution of FOURmula One Plus (F1+) by the Chief of Pharmaceutical Division, Dr. Anna Melissa S. Guerrero.  After which, Dr. Irene Florentino-Fariñas discussed the Philippine Medicines Policy 2018-2022, wherein the revitalization of the F1+ BNB and BNBi will bridge the gap access to medicines and provision of pharmaceutical care.

      The 2nd part of the program was the F1+ BNB and BNBi operational framework and the proposed roles and its processes.  Mr. Isaac Linatoc presented the module on promoting workplace integrity, safety and security through adherence to Good Storage and Distribution Pharmacy Practices. 

 

        On day 2, Mr. Cristan Agaceta discussed the module entitled demonstrating professionalism and earning the public trust in the delivery of medicines in public health facilities.  Then, Ms. Ocampo talked about the ethical, legal and regulatory considerations in the provision of pharmacy practices in the public health setting.

        The 3rd part of this year’s training consisted of updates on the different PD programs and regional activities. For the rational use of medicines, Ms. Joyce Ann Ceria-Pereña presented the updates on the Philippine National Formulary as well as its process of inclusion, deletion and exemption. This was by Ms. Lora Alaine Raymundo who discussed the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program (AMSP) for primary care and the role of Local Chiefs Executives (LCEs) in the proposed  AMS intervention.

 

        At the end of the course, Dr. Guerrero addressed the different concerns of the delegates attending the Batch 1 PHP Annual Training from Regions II, III, VI, VII, XI, XII, CAR and NCR, “The Pharmacists are now being felt in the grassroots level particularly in the rural health centers. The LCEs are becoming aware that Pharmacists are an integral part of their team in delivering quality healthcare and addressing the need for quality essential medicines.”

        All PHPs earned 14 Continuing Pharmacy Education (CPE) Units each for attending all courses with certificate number 2018-027-1227_. The training had a positive feedback from the participants with an average score of 3.56 with 4, being the highest score using the DOH-PD training evaluation level 2.

 

        The 2nd batch will be conducted on the 15th to 16th of August in Cebu City. PHPs from regions I, II, IVA, IVB, V, VI, IX, X, CARAGA and ARMM are expected to attend and be oriented on the different modules similar to the 1st batch.