The Lebanese Society for Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology (LSIDCM) Raises awareness about antimicrobial resistance and urges controlled use
With an aim to raise awareness about antimicrobial resistance and encourage careful usage to avoid its dangers, the Lebanese Society for Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology (LSIDCM) which works towards enhancing the quality of patient care through its conferences and research that are related to infectious diseases, in collaboration with MSD, organized a conference for media professionals that gathered a number of specialists in this field on Friday, September 13th at the Grand Hills Hotel.
The conference gathered the current President of the Lebanese Society for Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology (LSIDCM), Dr. Madonna Matar, the former president of the society, Dr. Zahi Helou, and specialists in bacterial diseases, Prof. Jacques Mokhbat, Prof. Ghassan Matar and Prof. Rima Moghnieh to discuss the seriousness of antimicrobial resistance and the need for guidance on its use to avoid its risks and consequences for patients and the health sector in Lebanon.
Dr. Madonna Matar, the current President of (LSIDCM), started the first round of the talk by introducing antimicrobial resistance, noting the risks of an unbalanced use of antibiotics. She also stated later on, the importance of using the antibiotics properly, and encouraged this initiative, known as “Antimicrobial stewardship”, which will be applied in hospitals. This is an important first step within the work she wants to complete with all members of the society to launch this program in all hospitals in Lebanon. She stressed the importance of educational activities and research that will be carried out by the society in the next two years, which will help in implementing the program of prudent use of antimicrobials, in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Health and the World Health Organization to make advanced steps in this area.
For his part, the former president of (LSIDCM), Dr. Zahi Helou, spoke about the new resistance mechanisms that are emerging and spreading globally, which threaten the ability of specialists to treat infectious diseases, or that may lead to disability or death in addition to the high costs of health care due to prolonged stays in hospitals. He also pointed out the effects of antimicrobial resistance, and how this health threat that will increase in the future, if no measures are taken, and kill 10 million people a year by 2050, according to the World Health Organization. On the other hand, he talked about what the Lebanese Society for Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology (LSIDCM) has been able to achieve, stressing that antimicrobial resistance and its prudent use are amongst the most important topics that the LSIDCM has worked towards spreading awareness, whether in annual meetings or awareness campaigns held with the Order of Physicians or through partnership with the Ministry of Public Health, media campaigns and international conferences.
Prof. Mokhbat stressed that antimicrobial resistance is a global problem and discussed the role played by the Ministry of Public Health as it is fully aware of the seriousness of this problem and is working closely with the World Health Organization and local consultants from the public and private sectors to prevent the spread of this issue.
The Ministry of Public Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) have prepared a national plan to control antimicrobial resistance and activate the controlled use of it. Moreover, the Ministry of Public Health is organizing national workshops as well as preparing national guidelines for the treatment of antimicrobials for infectious diseases in cooperation with the WHO.
In the first round of questions, Prof. Ghassan Matar talked about the ability that antibiotic resistance has in strengthening bacteria and making them resistant to multiple drugs. He also explained, in the second round, how promoting cautious use of antibiotics through a clear program of prudent use plays a positive role when it comes to reducing infectious diseases significantly.
Prof. Rima Moghnieh also pointed out the effect of the disease in Lebanon, and identified the source of infection coming from communities and hospitals, where antimicrobial resistance is spread through bacteria picked up by surgery, or through pneumonia due to respiratory infections, urinary tract infections or blood infections. She stressed the importance of wise use of antimicrobials and its effective role in solving the problem medically defined by the term “Antimicrobial stewardship” and said: “The right antibiotic for the right patient, at the right time and at the right dose, is mandatory when it comes to minimizing harm for the patients.”
On this occasion, Mr. Hassan Bibi, Market Access, Policy and Communication Director at MSD Levant, welcomed this kind of partnership with the Lebanese Society for Infectious and Bacterial Diseases (LSIDCM) for this awareness initiative that elevates the Lebanese health sector to the highest levels of education, and highlighted MSD continuous commitment to collaborate with the Lebanese Health Authorities and the Ministry of Public Health aiming to provide the best services to the Lebanese patients and to the public sector in general.
Mr. Bibi added: “We as MSD would like to confirm that this is part of our mission to shed light on the importance of antimicrobial resistance and its controlled intake. We hope that our collaboration with the Lebanese Society for Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology will allow us to raise awareness about this matter, and help reach patients who are in need.”
This initiative is part of the fourth conference held annually by the society, which will be extended for two days to address many topics in the field of antimicrobial resistance in order to find solutions to reduce their exacerbation.