Update on activities for combating antimicrobial resistance (AMR)- In Sri Lanka – April 2017-

“Launching ceremony of the National Action Plan- 9th May 2017”

The following members represent Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists (SLCM) at meetings related to AMR activities.

  1. P. Elwitigala – Consultant Microbiologist  – NSACP
  2. KumuduKarunaratne – Consultant Microbiologist – LRH
  3. ShiraniChandrasiri –Consultant Microbiologist –  CSTH
  4. GeethikaPatabendige – Consultant Microbiologist – NHSL
  5. KushlaniJayatilleke – Consultant Microbiologist - SJH

This core group developed the draft National Action Plan (NAP) in line with the five strategic objectives of the global action plan to combat AMR and submitted the document to WHOand Ministry of Health (MoH). This draft was further developed by veterinary and agriculture sector and was discussed at the National advisory committee meetings (NAC_AMR).

Deputy Director General of Laboratory Services, ministry of Health, (DDGLS) was identified as the focal point of AMR activities. NAC-AMR is considered the apex body for decision making for national AMR activities. NAC-AMR comprise of 54 members representing MoH, professional colleges, veterinary, agriculture and fishery. It is chaired by Director General of Health Services (DGHS) and co-chaired by Director General of Animal production and Health and Director General of Agriculture. NAP implementation strengthening team (NAP-IST) comprising of 26 members of the advisory committee was identified to help implementation activities.

MoH and WHO identified SLCM as the coordinating body to develop and implement NAP.  The task allocated to the college by the WHO is for a period of 6 months starting from July 2016.

The National strategic action plan for combating AMR is now finalized. National strategic action plan was emailed to all the specialist members of SLCM and other colleges and groups representing NAC AMR. Specialists and senior registrars of SLCM were updated on AMR activities at the meetings held on 30th September and 07th October.

An AMR awareness programme was conducted by the SLCM on 11th November 2016 for other professional colleges.

In addition NAC_AMR has completed drafting the nation policy to combat AMR and this has been circulated by the ministry of health again to the members of NAC-AMR for final comments and will be submitted as a cabinet paper jointly by human, animal and agriculture sector.

Further to this DDGLS, MoH conducted AMR awareness programmes in provinces in which members of the college of microbiologists participated as resource persons.

Several AMR awareness programmes were conducted by the college in selected hospitals and the consultant microbiologists of respective hospitals took a leading role in coordinating these.

AMR core group members participated at a training of trainers workshop on AMR conducted by the MoH and WHO in March 2017.

In addition a consultant microbiologist served as a resource personnel to AMR awareness programme conducted by the Ministry of Fisheries held in Chilaw.

MoH is also very keen in introducing a system to restrict prescribing of antibiotics in the hospital. As an initiative a meeting was held with professional colleges regarding implementing antibiotic stewardship programme in hospitals. In phase I, “Red light antimicrobials” which requires prior approval of microbiologist for prescription was identified and sent to all healthcare institutions of MoH as a circular.

Apart from this launching of the booklet, ‘Empirical and prophylactic use of antimicrobials- National guidelines -2016’ was held on 17th of November 2016. Launching was organized by the MoH. Now these guidelines are available in downloadable PDF format in the web site of Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists.

Currently the NAC-AMR is in the process of developing the implementation milestones of the National strategic action plan and will soon be printed as a booklet. This will be presented to His Excellency the president of Sri Lanka Hon.  Maithripala Sirisena at the launching ceremony of the NAP which is planned to be held on 9th May 2017.