Ministry of Health officials have warned drug stores to stop selling antibiotics to buyers without a doctor’s prescription because it increases antimicrobial resistance.
AMR is the ability of microbes to resist medication used to treat them, and in some cases can be traced to over reliance on antibiotics.
Ministry spokesman Ly Sovann said Cambodia had recently conducted its first consultation on AMR since 2011. Mr Sovann addressed Cambodians’ willingness to use antibiotics even in cases of benign infection, such as the flu.
“I would like to confirm that in 60 percent of flu cases, no antibiotics are needed. But most residents would rather trust the efficiency of antibiotics and can usually buy some at the pharmacy without a prescription,” he said.
Cambodia does not have a single core agency dealing with AMR.
It is primarily monitored by the World Health Organisation, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and the government.
Reports from hospitals and laboratories are causing concern since more AMR cases are being detected.
A project conducted this year monitoring ten hospitals showed varying antibiotic resistance from E Coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus and pneumonia.
National AMR surveillance on animals is planned to start in December.
There are a number of surrounding factors that contribute to the increase and spread of AMR. These include practice in animal farming, fisheries and crop production, patient awareness and behaviour, practices of healthcare providers, availability, regulation and financing of medications, and regulation of animal feeds and veterinary products.
Dr Li Yunguo, WHO’s representative in Cambodia, said that its organisation had assessed the main barriers to fighting AMR in the kingdom.
“We are working closely with the Ministry of Health to improve appropriate antibiotic use and support actions to support the work of hospitals and healthcare facilities,” he said.