With global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) threatened by antimicrobial resistance (AMR), how can social science play a critical role in finding solutions?
Vietnam: Strengthening legal and regulatory frameworks and building infrastructure to combat AMR
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a growing human and economic risk in Vietnam. One of the biggest contributors is the increasing and lack of effective controls in the use of antibiotics in the human health system, veterinary medicine, agriculture, horticulture and aquaculture.
Vietnam recognized that their legal and regulatory frameworks and systems needed to improve to combat, monitor and avert the multidimensional risks of AMR. Policy consistency and concerted action across sectors was, and is, essential.
Leading the way
In 2013, Vietnam became the first country in the World Health Organization’s Western Pacific Region to approve a national action plan (NAP) to combat drug resistance. On 22 July 2015, the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Trade and Industry, and Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) signed an aide-memoire to coordinate and jointly implement the NAP for AMR across different sectors. The Fleming Fund pilot project has committed to collectively developing a clear implementation and operational plan to deliver the actions set out under this NAP for AMR. The aide-memoire and NAP also seek to:
- help raise awareness about AMR
- support increased capacity of national surveillance systems on antibiotic use and resistance
- ensure adequate supply of high quality, essential drugs
- strengthen safe and rational drug use and infection control across sectors
We are very pleased that Vietnam’s Ministry of Health has given the project its full support. It has started the process of setting up a National Antibiotic Resistance Laboratory and national surveillance system – key components in the fight against antibiotic resistance. There have also been situational analyses on antibiotic use and resistance, examining the healthcare system, drug regulation and supply, antibiotic resistance and infection control, and agricultural antibiotic use.
As a result of this work, Vietnam has developed its first stage of laboratory infrastructure. Equipment has been installed, staff recruited and trained, and surveillance networks strengthened. The project is also establishing a network of sentinel surveillance sites across the country. In 2018, England’s Chief Medical Officer, Prof. Dame Sally Davies and the UN Secretary-General’s Interagency Coordination Group on AMR (IACG) visited the Fleming Fund supported National Antibiotic Resistance Reference Laboratory to understand the progress, challenges and lessons learnt in Vietnam's work to implement a One-Health-focused national action plan on AMR. Learnings from this project have been published in the Lancet, and have contributed to programme design for country and regional grants
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