ISLAMABAD - The issue of global challenge of antibiotic resistance is monumental with almost all countries and regions being affected including Pakistan and antibiotic misuse and overuse have contributed tremendously to a major health crisis within the country.

Dr Ejaz Khan, consultant paediatrician Shifa International Hospital and president Medical Microbiology and Infectious Disease Society of Pakistan (MMIDSP), remarked while addressing the participants of the 11th Annual Conference on Infectious Diseases titled "New Challenges & Frontiers in Infectious Diseases" organised by MMIDSP here on Saturday. A large number of health professionals attended the two-day conference. A number of scientific and technical sessions were held during the conference.

This big gathering of microbiologists, infectious disease experts, scientists, and young researchers will help share vital statistics on infectious disease, said Dr Ejaz Khan. He welcomed the participants and said, "We know very well that antibiotic misuse and overuse have contributed tremendously to a major health crisis within Pakistan.

Antimicrobial stewardship aims to improve appropriate prescription of antibiotics in all healthcare settings. MMIDSP plans to address ASP at both institutional and community levels by launching Antibiotic Stewardship Initiative in Pakistan (ASIP) at this conference by inviting all stakeholders."

Speaking as keynote speaker on "Antibiotic Stewardship: A new Buzzword and launch of Antibiotic Stewardship Initiative in Pakistan" Dr Naseem Salahuddin, consultant infectious diseases, Indus Hospital Karachi, and former president MMIDSP, spoke about its aims and objectives. She further said, "A task force will be formed with representation from leaders and policymakers of different government and private organisations and recommendations would be presented to decision-making authorities. A declaration will be made after further debate and discussion," she stated.

AQ Javed Iqbal, director Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan, said that in Pakistan public health had always been a challenge. "We have to clearly understand our endemic infectious diseases and formulate our own health needs. No other factor in disease control is more important than awareness, followed by intervention."

The pre-conference four workshops included antibiotic stewardship, paediatric tuberculosis, infection control and scientific manuscript writing. These workshops were a resounding success with more than 300 participants. Moderators and experts conducted these workshops with active participation from the enthusiastic audience.