Primarily organised by the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, this event took place during World Antibiotic Awareness Week on 13th and 14th November.
There were a lot of great regional and local speakers, and the event was well attended even by officials from local ministries – always a good sigh for the National Strategic Action Plan on AMR which was announced exactly one year ago.
The event was opened by Prof James Best, Dean of LKCMedicine, with guest of honour A/Prof Ben Ong, Director of Medical Services. Prof Leo Yee Sin, Executive Director of the National Centre for Infectious Diseases, introduced the new Antimicrobial Resistance Coordinating Office team led by Dr Lee Tau Hong from Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
The plenary lecture was delivered by Prof Ramanan Laxminarayan from the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy. Prof Ramanan has published extensively on AMR, and has done much to highlight its impact on multiple low and lower-middle income countries.
This was followed by Prof Paul Turner, based in Cambodia, who presented on the work done by the Wellcome Overseas Programmes in Asia – MORU and OUCRU. A/Prof Vernon Lee detailed Singapore’s plan against AMR.
I had to chair a panel discussion on surveillance on AMR and antibiotic prescription, as well as barriers to setting up a regional network. Perhaps the most thought-provoking question raised by the audience was the role of Singapore – a small but wealthy nation in Southeast Asia – in dealing with these issues. It is not clear there was a good consensus here.
The subsequent session was on the socioeconomic impact on AMR, with excellent talks delivered by Prof Mark Jit from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Prof Jorgen Schlundt from NTU’s Food Technology Centre (NAFTEC).
As in the previous session, there was a panel discussion on the socioeconomic aspects of AMR, ably chaired by Prof Ramanan. Several frank and interesting questions were raised by the audience, although unfortunately there was insufficient time to address them all.
Following a final session on innovation which I was unable to attend, delegates and speakers were hosted to a reception at Eden Hall organized by the British High Commission. Following the lead of UK, the local British High Commission has always been supportive of efforts to tackle the issue of AMR.
All in all, an enjoyable conference and I certainly hope to see this being made an annual or biennial event.