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New point-of-care management tool to combat antimicrobial resistance

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Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City becomes the first hospital in the Middle East to launch a prominent antimicrobial management tool that prioritises education and awareness.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) continues to be among the biggest public health challenges in the modern age, but a new management tool launched by Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City and a joint venture between Mayo Clinic and Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) may bring an end to evolving germs.

The new platform will give clinicians updated guidance on treatment choices, its local patterns, and drug-specific information on antimicrobial agents to ensure safety and efficacy. It will also offer an opportunity to connect and share experiences with a valued network of infectious diseases specialists from across the globe.

The launch of the tool is in aid of SSMC’s mission to promote the appropriate use of antimicrobial agents, reduce the burden of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and shed a much-needed light on the dangers of the mismanagement and over-prescription of antibiotics.

“Antimicrobial resistance is one of the biggest public health challenges of our time, with nearly five million deaths associated with bacterial AMR were reported in 2019 alone, based on a  recent study by The Lancet,” said Dr Zahir Babiker, Consultant Physician at Division of Tropical and Infectious Diseases in Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City.

He highlighted that AMR occurs when germs present in the human body stop responding to the medications designed to kill them. As a result, germs such as bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses will continue to grow and pose a serious risk to the lives of people who are harbouring those germs.

“Therefore, careful use of antimicrobial agents such as antibiotics is important and requires educating people and persuading clinicians to follow an evidence-based approach for prescribing antibiotics,” he added.

Over-prescription of antibiotics is a major factor that contributes to the increase in antimicrobial resistance. Antibiotics are often over-prescribed in situations where people actively pursue a prescription, or where doctors are not recommending alternatives or are fearful of reprisals if they withhold them. These behaviours often drive a culture promoting unnecessary antibiotic prescribing. 

According to Dr Farin Foroodi, Internal Medicine Consultant in Division of Internal Medicine at Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City, the key purpose of the tool is to educate clinicians and improve access and utilisation of antimicrobial management guidelines.

“It integrates our guidelines into a user-friendly interface on mobile and web applications. It also gives our medical practitioners quick access to the best quality information that is continuously updated with the most recent antimicrobial management guidelines to support informed decisions that will improve patient outcomes,” she said.

Antimicrobial resistance transforms illnesses that are characteristically simple to treat into infinitely more complex cases.

"We still have a long way to go to raise awareness and educate the broader public about the seriousness of AMR. Antibiotics are neither a one-size-fits-all solution nor the only solution. We are optimistic that with antimicrobial management tools we can equip ourselves with the information we need to devise the best care plans for our patients, including those infected with resistant germs,” Dr Babiker concluded.

TAGS: Microbiology
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