Combating antimicrobial resistance should not be difficult in Bhutan as the use of antibiotics is mainly restricted to government hospitals and veterinary centers.  

While the antimicrobial resistance occurs naturally over time and through genetic changes, misuse and overuse of antimicrobials is accelerating this process, according to a press release from the health ministry.

In many places, the press release stated, antimicrobials are often given without professional oversight and fed to animals as growth promoters.

“Sale of antibiotics from the private pharmacies in Bhutan constitutes only a small fraction of antibiotics used in the country whose sale is well regulated,” it stated. “The use of antibiotics in agriculture sector has been kept to minimum.”

However, the country cannot be complacent and effective monitoring and surveillance of the antibiotic use in both human and animal health has to be established and sustained. 

According to the health ministry, the core focus should be on ensuring the rational use of antibiotics in the hospitals and veterinary centers and enhancing public education and at the same time. 

To this effect, November 12 to 18 this year is observed as the World Antibiotics Awareness Week. Ministry of Health in collaboration with the World Health Organization is spearheading the advocacy and awareness activities in Thimphu, and other hospitals in 9 districts.

As a part of the program to create awareness and educate the health workers and the general public, Ministry of Health in collaboration with WHO country office and Ministry of Agriculture and Forest will be coordinating a “Multi-sectoral Advocacy on Antimicrobial Resistance in the country” on today at RIHS Auditorium in Thimphu. 

“If we want antibiotics to protect their generation from infections, we have to act now and we have to act together,” the press release stated.

Staff reporter