Senior Veterinary Specialist in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr. Suzanne McLennon-Miguel.
Jamaica joins the rest of the world in observing World Antimicrobial Awareness Week from November 18 to 24, under the theme ‘Spread Awareness, Stop Resistance – Handle Antimicrobials with care’.
The week will be marked with a series of activities to increase awareness and understanding of global antimicrobial resistance, through effective communication, education and training.
Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’, on Friday (November 12), Senior Veterinary Specialist at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr. Suzanne McLennon-Miguel, pointed out that the week will be launched on Monday November 15.
She noted that partners, such as the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), will bring greetings.
“They are all partners with us in trying to strengthen our approach to antimicrobial surveillance, monitoring and testing here in Jamaica,” Dr. McLennon-Miguel explained.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Audley Shaw, who also oversees the Agriculture and Fisheries portfolio, will give an address on how the Ministries are responding to the call to action.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, will deliver the keynote address.
Dr. McLennon-Miguel said that a panel discussion will follow the launch and this will highlight the topic ‘Antimicrobial and Its Impact on Humans’.
Thursday, November 18 will be observed as Agri-Food Industry Day.
“We have presentations from experts talking about good agricultural practices in livestock, bees, fishery and crop production and we’re going to talk about the monitoring programmes that we have to make sure that food is safe to eat,” the Senior Veterinary Specialist said.
“Friday will focus on the human sector and we’ll be talking about infection prevention and control measures that must be implemented to help combat antimicrobial resistance in this sector,” Dr. McLennon-Miguel added.
The following week on November 22, there will be a webinar on antimicrobial usage to highlight the role and responsibility of all persons – the pharmacist, the persons who prescribe antimicrobials – and what one should expect.
“On Tuesday, November 23, we are going to talk about antimicrobial stewardship. We need to have persons being champions out there, spread the awareness, being action persons to stem this issue,” she explained.
On the final day of World Antimicrobial Week, which is November 24, there will be a public-private partnership panel discussion to see how, hand in hand, both public and private partners can combat antimicrobial resistance in Jamaica.
“We need to spread the word. We need to tell persons to take action now. Prudent use of antimicrobials will reduce the emergence and spread of these superbugs. We need to have a one-health approach, all hands on deck, the Ministries of Health, Agriculture, Industry, pharmacists, epidemiologists and researchers, and we need to work together to tackle this,” Dr. McLennon-Miguel urged.
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