MANILA — A health expert on Tuesday cited the contribution of immunization to the reduction in antibiotic use and, hence, in addressing antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
In a forum entitled “Vaccination 101”, Philippine Foundation for Vaccination founder and professor emeritus at the University of the Philippines Manila, Dr. Lulu Bravo, said vaccines could actually help prevent AMR.
Giving an example, Bravo, a pediatrician, said parents are thankful when doctors prescribe antibiotics to their sick children as the latter would get well.
However, she said, parents do not realize that it would be more difficult — and more costly — once their children develop resistance to antibiotics later in life, which would happen less if the children were immunized.
“Right now, the primary problem of WHO (World Health Organization) is to reduce antibiotic resistance,” Bravo said, explaining that antibiotics have the propensity to become resistant to bacteria bugs.
“If you keep on using antibiotics, soon it will no longer be effective for you. So you have to lessen the disease that you have so that you don’t have to get more antibiotics,” she said.
For the past years, the WHO has been warning about the growing problem on antibiotic resistance, citing that high levels of resistance can already be seen around the globe.
AMR is defined as the ability of a microorganism to stop an antibiotic from working against it.
Bravo noted that every year, vaccines prevent an estimated five million deaths and save 750,000 children worldwide from disabilities.
Meanwhile, board member of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines, Dr. Fatima Jimenez, urged the public, especially mothers, to heed the call to have their children immunized with vaccines that had for decades been proven to be effective in reducing preventable illnesses.
“Let us continue having trust in our health care system. There are still many health professionals on the ground who are dedicated to their profession. They are not just the people on top,” said Jimenez.
Citing an example, she said the vaccine for measles has prevented death and complications among children.
The forum was held to allay public fear of vaccines caused by the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia controversy and regain public trust on immunization. (PNA)