ARSP Holds its 34th Annual Meeting
Screenshots of highlights from the 34th ARSP Annual Meeting. From left to right (top): Dir. Duran giving welcoming remarks, Dir. Carlos message as the ARSP Chair, presentation of ARSP Best Sentinel Site, (line 2): Ms. Ablola presenting the SaTScan software, CLSI 2022 updates by Mr. Chilam, presentation of list of referable isolates to the ARSP by Ms. Lagrada, (bottom): Presentation of 2021 ARSP Data and the case-based AMR surveillance by Dr. Sia. and presentation of the best hospital report.

The Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Reference Laboratory (ARSRL) hosted the 34th Annual Meeting of the DOH Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Program (ARSP) last May 19, 2022 via Zoom. The event was graced by the RITM Assistant Director Dr. Anna Duran who delivered the Welcome Remarks and by RITM Director Celia C. Carlos who gave a message as the chair of the Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Program. The 24 sentinel and 2 gonococcal surveillance sites were represented by their respective pathologists/head of the laboratory and medical technologists involved in the program.

As a fitting update to the surveillance participants, Dr. Sonia Sia, the head of the ARSRL, presented the ARSP 2021 Summary Report. In the report, it was noted that the number of data contributed to the ARSP for 2021 has increased compared to that of 2020, which indicates the sentinel sites laboratories may be returning to their usual operations prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Representatives of each sites gave an update on their laboratory and of their participation to the surveillance. Data management update on the use of SaTScan feature of WHONET and updates on antimicrobial susceptibility testing based on the CLSI M100 (32nd ed) were also presented. Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center was recognized as the Best Sentinel Site for 2021 while Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital was awarded to have the Best Hospital Report.

The Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Program has consistently provided AMR data to stakeholders since 1988. It currently involves 24 highly performing sentinel and 2 gonococcal sites across the different regions in the country. ARSP AMR data had served as reference for the National Antibiotic Guidelines, the National Action Plan to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance, and are regularly contributed as country AMR estimates to the WHO Global Antimicrobial Surveillance System (GLASS).

Screenshot of participants from the 34th ARSP Annual Meeting

RITM Director, Dr. Celia Carlos, in her message as the chair of the Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Program affirmed the excellent efforts of the ARSRL staff and sentinel sites in the conduct of the surveillance. She also acknowledged the contribution of the ARSP in the conduct of the accreditation program in partnership with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation in enforcing the precedence of high quality laboratory results prior to the use of reserve antibiotics in the Philippine National Formulary.

In keeping with One Health Approach, ARSP has on-going connections with the animal health and environmental health sectors towards the realization of an integrated AMR surveillance. The ARSP has begun integrating genomic surveillance in its 2021 Annual Report where data from whole genome sequencing of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was reported.

As mentioned by Dr. Carlos, “work in the ARSP has positively influenced our country’s health system.” The full participation from the different sentinel sites in providing vital information on AMR shall continue to be of service to the program stakeholders, mentioned Dr. Ana Liza Duran during her welcoming remarks. In her closing statement, Dr. Sonia Sia recognized the unwavering good performance of the ARSP sentinel sites in their participation to the surveillance.

by Karis Boehme and Dr. Sonia Sia, Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Reference Laboratory