Antibiotic resistance an upward trend in Vietnam

TN News

Email Print

The Ministry of Health has warned that antibiotic­-resistance is becoming a major challenge for the treatment of infectious diseases in Vietnam.

The announcement came following the release of a yearlong hospital survey, which exposed an increasing need for stronger and stronger antibiotics.

A study conducted by the ministry at 19 hospitals in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Hai Phong between 2009 and 2010 showed that four common types of bacteria (acinetobacter spp, pseudomonas spp, e.coli, klebsiella) exhibited higher levels of antibiotic resistance as time went on.

In recent years, a number of common antibiotics, like penicillin and tetracycline, are no as longer effective as before, the ministry said.

Cao Hung Thai, deputy chief of the Bureau for Examination and Treatment Management, said that the rampant purchase and sale of antibiotics without prescriptions is to blame for the increasing resistance rates.

Doctor Nguyen Van Vinh Chau, director of the HCMC Hospital of Tropical Diseases, said Vietnamese people have a habit of buying ampicillin and amoxicillin whenever they have the symptoms of flu.

"They use the drugs for a couple of days and stop, and their bodies gradually become resistant to antibiotics," he said. "There are also patients who are admitted to hospital for diarrhea who are resistant to ampicillin, amoxicillin and bactrim, so they have to buy new antibiotics, which are more expensive."

A doctor who recently brought her husband to Singapore for rectal cancer told Thanh Nien that penicillin, widely used in Vietnam 20­30 years ago, was still being used in Singapore.

Vietnamese hospitals, she said, have had resorted to many new antibiotics.

"In the hospital I am working at, new antibiotics arrive every few months," she said.

According to the World Health Organization, infections caused by drug­resistant microorganisms often fail to respond to the standard treatment, resulting in prolonged illness and greater risk of death.

Antimicrobial resistance reduces the effectiveness of treatment because patients remain infectious for longer and they are more likely to spread resistant strains to others, the group found.

The Ministry of Health has listed a number of antibiotics which must be sold only with a prescription. In practice,

however, the purchase and sales of antibiotics are out of control.

Tran Quang Trung, the ministry's chief inspector, said it's not easy to force Vietnamese drug stores to maintain prescription records.

The best solution is to set up more drugstores with Good Pharmacy Practice (GPP) standards, where buyers are provided with sound advisory services, he said.

Drug sellers and pharmacists should be better informed and regulated so that antibiotics are only used when appropriate, he added.

More Health News