It was reported in the news that the Thai cabinet has approved a national action plan by the Public Health Ministry to halve antibiotic-resistant infections by 2021. This is one of the most ambitious pledges by any government in the battle against antimicrobial resistance to date.

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Screenshot from the Bangkok Post news story about Thailand’s pledge to reduce drug-resistant infections by 50% by 2021.

I could not find the policy plan online, but according to the newspaper report, the Thai minister for public health had announced that approximately 88,000 patients developed drug-resistant infections each year, with at least 38,000 deaths and economic losses to the tune of approximately 42 billion baht. The national action plan appeared to be “One Health” in concept, tackling the problem in hospitals, communities, as well as among livestock and agriculture. There would be control of antibiotic use (presumably reducing over the counter sales of antibiotics as well as antibiotic stewardship) in both humans and animals, and efforts to increase public awareness.

With the right policies and resources allocated, it is reasonable to expect that Thailand will make significant headway in controlling the problem of antimicrobial resistance. The first step – a public pledge and high-level political support – is already the right way forward.

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