The Ministry of Health, represented by the Directorate General for Disease Surveillance and Control (DGDSC), launched today (Monday) the first report of the Oman Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System (OMASS) at the Holiday Muscat, under the patronage of H.E. Dr. Ahmed bin Mohamed Al-Saidi, Minister of Health.
The Minister of Health praised the efforts exerted by all the team and workers in different sectors to monitor the resistance of antibiotics, especially in the health sector. The Minister added that "It is estimated that 10 million deaths per year may occur in the future due to misuse of antibiotics, not only at the health level but also at the livestock and agriculture sector. It is important to ensure, the doctor does not prescribe antibiotics for simple diseases like the flu".
Dr. Saif bin Salim Al-Abri, DGDSC Director General pointed out that the Ministry of Health is pursuing a well-planned strategy in partnership with all the relevant authorities to reduce the spread of antibiotic-resistant superbugs and their consequent threat to the health gains and achievements locally as well as globally. He further added that the Oman Antimicrobial Resistance surveillance System (OMASS) is the cornerstone for estimating the burden of antimicrobial resistance, and also will provide the necessary information to set standards and policies to reduce the spread of resistant microbes.
Dr. Al-Abri also clarified that the antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest threats to global health, food security and development in the twenty-first century; it can affect anyone, at any age, in any country. He added that during the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York in 2017, the leaders the of states recognized the importance of cooperation between the international community and governments to unify plans, capabilities and efforts in order to contain the problem of antimicrobial.
Dr. Al-Abri stressed to double the efforts to reduce morbidity and mortality rates due to antibiotic resistance and health-related infection. He also added that in 2018 the MOH started to introduce new health institutions into the surveillance system of antibiotic resistance.
Dr Amal Al-Maani, MOH Director of the Central Department of Prevention and Infection Control, discussed the stages in the development of the Oman Antimicrobial Resistance surveillance System (OMASS). This system includes two major sections: the first deals with the monitoring of antibiotic-resistance microbes and the second section with the estimation of antibiotics consumption in the hospitals. She highlighted the usefulness of this surveillance system in the overall improvement of the health care delivery system in Oman.
The launching ceremony included three workshops elaborating the interpretation and utilization of the OMASS reports in the healthcare field.Dr. Amina Al-Jardani, Director of Public Health Laboratory addressed in the first workshop, the best methods of examining laboratories samples based on international standards. Dr. Azza Al-Rashdi discussed the various methods of culture of microbes to obtain accurate information. Thereby, the first workshop ended with the establishment of mechanisms through which the contents of the report were to be incorporated into the clinical care of patients.
In the second workshop, Dr. Adil Al-Wahaibi highlighted the procedures for extracting the data from Al-Shifa database. He further explained how the analysis can be used to improve the patient care. At the end of the second workshop, Dr. Waleed Al-Shaburi explained how the OMASS system provides real-time data from the hospitals that enables various public health interventions without waiting for the periodic compilation of the data.
The third workshop, pharmacist Manal Al-Ansari talked about the international standards used to calculate the consumption of antibiotics. At the end of the workshop, Dr. Abdullah Al-Qayoudhi discussed how the medical staffs can utilize the OMASS report to improve the patient care by the rational use of the antibiotics.
There is a widespread fear among doctors and scientists that the majority of antibiotics available to treat human diseases will become useless in the near future with a rare scarcity in recent years in manufacturing new types of antibiotics as alternatives. In the absence of effective antimicrobials medications in the prevention and treatment of infection, surgical operations, cancer treatments and tissue transplants will fail simply because the patient has an infection that has no longer effective drugs.
Antimicrobial resistance surveillance is the cornerstone for estimating the burden of antimicrobial resistance, and for providing necessary information to build up national and global strategies.
In May 2016, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has signed a joint national strategic plan to combat the resistance of antibiotics, in which the surveillance system is one of its main pillars. The Ministry of Health also launched a national campaign to raise the awareness about microbial resistance to antibiotics under the theme "Antibiotics wise use, better outcome ".
The (OMASS) collects and analyzes data of microbes that are resistant to antibiotics diagnosed in MOH microbiology laboratories and the central public health laboratory. It also provides data on the types and quantities of antibiotics consumed in all health care institutions of the Ministry of Health. This system also monitors the emerging of a new pathogen.
It is worth mentioning that, data obtained in the OMASS was allowed, for the first time, to participate in the Global Antimicrobial Database, as the report was shared with the Global Antimicrobial Resistance Control System (GLASS).
The annual report is a reference for different types of resistant microbes registered in the Sultanate and the extent of their response to available antimicrobial medications. It will also provide a baseline data for the future comparison and to monitor the trend of response to different interventions.
The OMASS Surveillance Program is part of the national strategy to control antibiotic resistance, which also includes raising the awareness and educating the community and health workers, rational use of antibiotics, infection prevention and control, and scientific research. The Ministry of health has been actively working in many aspects of this strategy within the previous years. In conjunction with this event and with the World Week of Antibiotics, which falls in November each year, there will be activities and awareness programs for the community and health institutions to raise the awareness about rational use of antibiotics and prevent the spread of infection and prevention of superbugs spread.