Southeast Asia a ‘hotspot’ for antibiotic abuse, FAO official says

Above, a plate coated with an antibiotic-resistant bacteria called Klebsiella with a mutation called NDM 1 and then exposed to various antibiotics is seen at the Health Protection Agency in London in this 2011 photo. (Reuters)
Updated 31 January 2018
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Southeast Asia a ‘hotspot’ for antibiotic abuse, FAO official says

BANGKOK: Overuse and misuse of antibiotics in food is rife in Southeast Asia, a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) official said on Wednesday, warning of serious risks for people and animals as bacterial infections become more resistant to treatment.
The official from the United Nations’ food agency issued the warning on the sidelines of an international meeting in Bangkok focused on antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
FAO’s Chief Veterinary Officer Juan Lubroth said in Bangkok that threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) was magnified in places, like Asia’s megacities, where there was high population growth and intense food and agriculture production.
“Here in Southeast Asia … we would consider it a hotspot because of the population growth, urbanization dynamics, the production of food,” Lubroth said.
A report published on Monday by the World Health Organization said that a new global surveillance system had found widespread occurrence of antibiotic resistance among 500,000 people with suspected bacterial infections across 22 countries.
“Some of the world’s most common – and potentially most dangerous – infections are proving drug-resistant,” Marc Sprenger, director of WHO’s Antimicrobial Resistance Secretariat, said in a statement.
A 2016 report by economist Jim O’Neill, commissioned by the British government, projects $100 trillion in losses by 2050 if nothing is done to reverse the trend, and estimated that the annual toll resulting from AMR will climb to 10 million deaths in the next 35 years.
“Ninety percent of those deaths would be in the developing world, and that is scary,” Lubroth said.
He said the FAO advocates educating farmers about the dangers of using antibiotics to promote growth in animals, and stronger enforcement of rules governing food production.
“It’s not only about having the rules in black and white, they need to be applied.”


Saudi food app is perfect recipe for people in need

Updated 19 May 2018
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Saudi food app is perfect recipe for people in need

JEDDAH: A Saudi relationship manager has designed a mobile app that allows food to be delivered to people in need, including Syrian refugees living in camps in Lebanon and Turkey.
Western region manager Fahad bin Thabit, 34, described his YummCloud app as a “sharing economy” platform.
After working with app developers from India, Ukraine and the US, Thabit launched the platform in late April with help from the US digital agency Ingic.
YummCloud was featured in US company news, such as Cision PRWeb.
“The idea behind YummCloud was to provide home-cooked meals to the users in the most convenient way,” Cision PRWeb said.
“Developers were told to develop an open platform app that will let users buy, sell or send home-cooked meals around them. All a user has to do is to choose the food they would like to eat and get it delivered at their convenience.”
Thabit said that his brother, who lives in France, was the inadvertent inspiration behind the app.
“At that time I wanted to send him food and that was when I had the idea: Why can’t I send him local food?
“I could not find any of our local food there, and this was how the application came up. I said once I can do that, I can send food to anyone anywhere in the world — all I need to do is provide the supplier,” Thabit told Arab News.
Anyone can help communities in need via the application, he said.
Thabit said he was planning to help Syrian refugees in Turkey.
“We call these meals ‘humanitarian meals’ — all we need to do is reach them via a social network and get a supplier there. People who sympathize with the refugees — they could be 100 kilometers away or in different parts of the world — can pay online and buy meals for them.”
He said whole communities could take part in the “sharing economy.”
“For example, in Africa, there are areas that have people suffering from starvation, but there are other areas that have food supplies, so if you buy the supplies from those areas, they can import them to the starvation-stricken areas. This is what I call a sharing economy.”
The app’s international features are still under development, but are expected to launch in two years.
“We can create a market anywhere in the world. All we need to do is add a language, find a delivery company there, and if there isn’t one, people can deliver it themselves.
“We had 500 orders in the first 10 days of the launch in Saudi Arabia.”
Thabit said that transportation network company Careem was acting as a logistics partner.
“Careem have us covered everywhere — it is operating in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Egypt. Wherever Careem is present, we are there regarding delivery,” he said.
Thabit said he had agreements with delivery companies and charities in different parts of the world for YummCloud’s global transition.
The application is an efficient humanitarian platform.
“We provide a platform for everyone to help everyone,” he said.