Council Spearheads Multi-Sectoral Panel Discussions on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

November 30, 2022

The Consumer Council of Fiji (CCoF) conducted a multisectoral three-tier panel discussion on ‘The Role of Policy, Practitioners, Academia and Consumers in Addressing Public Health Threat Due to Antimicrobial Resistance’ at the Holiday Inn in Suva today.

Officially opening the event, the Head of Wellness, Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Dr. Devina Nand stressed that misuse of antibiotics is among the main drivers underpinning the development of AMR. Resistance to last-line antibiotics also compromises the effectiveness of life-saving medical interventions.

“Fiji is committed to adopting the One Health Approach against AMR now and onwards to 2030. This is more critical than ever with the global fight against COVID and other emerging diseases. Fiji became the first Pacific Island country to develop and launch a National Action Plan for AMR. The Fiji National Action Plan of 2015 emphasizes the One Health agenda recognizing the quadripartite forum that needs to work cohesively to combat AMR in the country,” stated Dr. Nand.

The Head of Wellness also assured continued efforts from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services in tackling AMR in Fiji.

CCoF Chief Executive Officer Ms. Seema Shandil in her opening address emphasized that as antimicrobial resistance is increasing, it is vital to encourage consumers to change and adopt smarter antibiotic behavior. Despite the World Health Organization’s efforts to combat antibiotic resistance and their emphasis on the importance of public involvement, the role of consumers has been overlooked.

“The manifold responsibility for antibiotic resistance extends across different actors, including food retailers and consumers. Given this shared responsibility, a cohesive action is required without pushing responsibility on a particular group. To overcome this status quo situation, we not only draw attention to the potential role of individual responsibility to adopt smart antibiotic behaviour but also to empower them; this is what the Council has ventured into,” stated Ms. Shandil.

Ms. Shandil also highlighted that conditions must be put in place to enable consumers’ critical evaluation of the health-related and ethical aspects of their consumption choices. Such behaviour is now being promoted and will be facilitated using digital innovations to support informed choices, in-store and online.

Meanwhile, the Council’s Manager Alternative Dispute Resolution – Ms. Jessica Lal who was one of the panelists in the consumer segment of discussions highlighted that improving awareness and understanding of AMR through effective communication, education, and training is imperative now more than ever.

“One way to help deal with AMR is to promote behavioral change, including consumer behavior. Generally, consumers’ understanding of antibiotic resistance is characterized by misconceptions and low levels of awareness and knowledge. Public knowledge regarding the harms of AMR and its implications is generally limited. Hence, the Council is striving to address this gap and build a consumer movement which is conscious of the consumption-health relationship,” stated Ms. Lal.

Finally, the event brought together actors from different sectors and immensely contributed towards the core messages relating to AMR and explored the role of policy, practitioners, advocacy and research in combating antimicrobial resistance. The panelists also contributed towards identifying entry points of action for different actors, current challenges they may face, and best ways to address them. Panelists were from public sectors, NGOs, CSO’s, academia, health practitioners, and consumer reps.

For any queries relating to the above-mentioned event please contact the Council’s Manager Campaigns Information and Media via email at manager_cim@consumersfiji.org.


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