European Antibiotic Awareness Day

Podgorica, 18 November 2015

WHO Country Office Montenegro organised a conference on the occasion of the European Antibiotic Awareness Week.

The main aim of this conference named “Bacterial resistance to antibiotics – are we GETTING POWERLESS?” was to present and discuss the importance of using antibiotics rationally, and to present to the whole health sector how it can be efficiently achieved.

The conference which welcomed eminent lecturers from the country and the region – university professors and medical workers – gathered representatives of the primary and secondary health care sector, and the Agency for Medicines and Medical Devices in Montenegro, who took active participation and contributed to its relevance.

Mr Mensud Grbovic, assistant minister of health, opened the conference, emphasising the relevance and necessity of coordinated action of health workers, veterinaries, pharmacists, food producers, and every individual in addressing this all-increasing problem. The Ministry of Health has recognised its severity and scale, and adopted a strategy and a set of laws to tackle with the problem of antibiotics overuse, particularly in light of development of superbacteria, bacteria resistant to all the existing antibiotics.

Ms Mina Brajovic, head of WHO country office in Montenegro, stressed that antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health today. It is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world, compromising our ability to treat infectious diseases and undermining many advances in health and medicine. While explaining that on the occasion of the first World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) on 16-22 November 2015, WHO/Europe released its first report on antibiotic resistance in five non-European Union (EU) countries of the WHO European Region, she shared with the participants one of the key report findings showing that antibiotic resistance in non-EU countries in the Region is comparable with their EU neighbours.

Without urgent action, the world is headed for a ‘post-antibiotic era’ in which common infections and minor injuries can once again kill. All have a role to play in preserving the effectiveness of antibiotics. Ms Brajovic concluded that strengthening national AMR surveillance would be an important step in that regard.

The importance of joint action in combating irrational use of antibiotics was reiterated by Dr Boban Mugosa, director of Montenegrin Institute of Public Health, who pointed to Scandinavia’s good practice in fight this global health problem.