Patient safety

WHO-FIP joint symposium on antimicrobial resistance

6 September 2009
Istanbul, Turkey

Andy Gray, Rachel Nugent, David Heymann and Mohan Joshi

Overview of FIP Congress

Friday 4 September marked the opening of the 2009 FIP Congress in Istanbul, officially launching the 69th World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Close to 3000 pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, academics, researchers, students and guests gathered to connect with each other on the central theme and question: "Responsibility for patient outcomes - are you ready?"

Overview of joint symposium

During the Congress, FIP and WHO Patient Safety organized a joint symposium on combating anti-microbial resistance for patient safety. This session was co-chaired by David Heymann, Chair of the Health Protection Agency Board, UK, representing WHO Patient Safety and Andy Gray, President of the FIP Hospital Pharmacy Section.

Rachel Nugent, Senior Health Program Associate at the Center for Global Development (CGD) and Chair of CGD’s Drug Resistance Working Group, spoke on the Global Problem of Drug Resistance. Ms Nugent highlighted recent research findings that resistance is occurring across major diseases and that in many countries and settings there is still widespread irrational use of drugs and inadequate incentives to prevent drug resistance. She also emphasized that process is being made, especially in areas like laboratories/surveillance and accreditation of drug dispensers, but that these initiatives are still in early pilot stages. They not only need to be scaled up, but in many cases, they also need to be better coordinated across disease areas and into the overall health system.

Mohan Joshi from the Strengthening Pharmaceutical Systems Program in the Management Sciences for Health (MSH) shared his experience of using regional pharmaceutical organizations as multipliers in expanding the scope and impact of antimicrobial resistance initiatives. The project highlighted was done in collaboration with the East, Central, and Southern Africa (ECSA) Health Community’s Regional Pharmaceutical Forum (RPF), and a non-governmental mission sector group, the Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network (EPN), The aim of the project was to expand the use of an AMR advocacy and containment strategy previously implemented successfully in Zambia and Ethiopia.

Focusing on the recommendations of the WHO Global Strategy for Containment of Antimicrobial Resistance launched in 2001, Andy Gray, representing the FIP hospital section, highlighted the specific and key roles that pharmacists can play in eliminating unnecessary and inappropriate antibiotic use. There is a need now for an integrated intervention and coordination among health professionals on activities such as the selection of formulary drugs, the development of formulary-based guidelines, monitoring and evaluating drug use, surveillance and reporting of bacterial resistance patterns, detection and appropriate care of patients with resistant organisms, and promotion and monitoring of basic infection control practices.

Finally, David Heymann shared with the participants the ongoing work to define the global antimicrobial resistance agenda and to develop the World Health Organization's Third Global Patient Safety Challenge focussing on antimicrobial resistance.

The symposium ended with lively panel debate on the way forward for pharmacists playing a role in combating antimicrobial resistance in their daily practices.