RITM, Director Carlos awarded as AMR champion
Photo caption: RITM Director Dr. Celia C. Carlos (3rd from left) receiving a plaque and certificate of recognition for being one of the pillars of the Philippine Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Program.

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and Director Dr. Celia C. Carlos were recognized in the 2022 Philippine World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (PAAW) Culminating Activity and High-Level Media Forum in Seda Vertis North Hotel, Quezon City last November 22, 2022.

The Department of Health (DOH) and World Health Organization (WHO) awarded RITM with a plaque of recognition for serving as one of the six Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) Training Hubs that equipped public and private healthcare organizations in implementing their own AMS program. The Institute has been facilitating the conduct of the AMS Training Program since 2017.

According to RITM AMS Committee Chair Dr. Jemelyn Garcia, the RITM AMS Team, together with Infectious Disease specialists of the RITM Medical Department and other training hubs, has successfully trained Level II and Level III hospitals across the country. The training of Level I hospitals is currently ongoing.

While the training of hospitals was conducted face-to-face prior the pandemic, it has now shifted to a blending learning platform since 2021.

“Aside from implementing the AMS program in our hospital, it is important to equip other hospitals to do the same.  The problem of AMR is quite alarming, hence, we have to ensure that the AMS program of DOH is effectively implemented in all hospitals. Being a training hub is our contribution to make this happen,” said Dr. Garcia.

Together with RITM, the Bataan General Hospital and Medical Center, the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Hospital, the Jose B. Lingad Memorial General Hospital, the Philippine General Hospital, and the Southern Philippine Medical Center also received their own plaque of recognition as AMS Training Hubs.

AMR Champions were also awarded. Makati Medical Center won the Hospital Category in Human Health, Vicente Mendiola Center for Health Cebu won the Primary Health Care (PHC) in Human Health, Ms. Pauline Manipon won the Individual Category in Human Health, and Bounty Food Corporations received special recognition for Animal Health.

After the awarding, special due recognition was given to Dr. Celia C. Carlos for being one of the pillars of the Philippine Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Program.

Dr. Carlos was recognized for her exemplary contribution and leadership over the national Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Program (ARSP) for 34 years. Despite budgetary challenges, Dr. Carlos was able to establish 26 high-performing bacteriology laboratories nationwide.

ARSP has provided valuable evidence for many clinical practice guidelines on infectious diseases and contributed significantly to the more rational use of antibiotics and better management of patients. A laboratory-based surveillance system in various hospital sentinel sites, ARSP determines the status and developing trends of resistance of selected bacteria to specific antimicrobials.

Aside from Dr. Carlos, the Department of Health Pharmaceutical Division Director Dr. Anna Melissa Guerrero was also given special recognition for being a staunch AMR advocate and leader.

PAAW is a localized celebration of the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) which is globally celebrated every November to raise awareness on AMR and to advocate best practices among various stakeholders.

The PAAW culminating activity served as an avenue to celebrate the collective accomplishments in combating AMR and to recognize the champions of this initiative. The high-level media forum, on the other hand, strengthened the AMR campaign and advocated for action among leaders across all sectors.

AMR is one of the most serious global threats to public health. As one of the forefront WHO-member states actively fighting against AMR, the country has been participating in the global activity through PAAW since 2015.

by Allenor Enciso