Combating antimicrobial resistance in Singapore: a qualitative study exploring the policy context, challenges, facilitators, and proposed strategies

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Singh, Shweta R.
Chua, Alvin Q.
Tan, Sok Teng
Tam, Clarence C.
Hsu, Li Yang
Legido-Quigley, HelenaLegido-Quigley, Helena - ORCID ID
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cc-by (c) Singh et al., 2019
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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global public health threat that warrants urgent attention. However, the multifaceted nature of AMR often complicates the development and implementation of comprehensive policies. In this study, we describe the policy context and explore experts' perspectives on the challenges, facilitators, and strategies for combating AMR in Singapore. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 21 participants. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and were analyzed thematically, adopting an interpretative approach. Participants reported that the Ministry of Health (MOH) has effectively funded AMR control programs and research in all public hospitals. In addition, a preexisting One Health platform, among MOH, Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (restructured to form the Singapore Food Agency and the Animal & Veterinary Service under NParks in April 2019), National Environment Agency, and Singapore's National Water Agency, was perceived to have facilitated the coordination and formulation of Singapore's AMR strategies. Nonetheless, participants highlighted that the success of AMR strategies is compounded by various challenges such as surveillance in private clinics, resource constraints at community-level health facilities, sub-optimal public awareness, patchy regulation on antimicrobial use in animals, and environmental contamination. This study shows that the process of planning and executing AMR policies is complicated even in a well-resourced country such as Singapore. It has also highlighted the increasing need to address the social, political, cultural, and behavioral aspects influencing AMR. Ultimately, it will be difficult to design policy interventions that cater for the needs of individuals, families, and the community, unless we understand how all these aspects interact and shape the AMR response.
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Antibiotics, 2019, vol. 8, num. 4, p. 1-17