On December 1, 1988, as the country’s response to the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO) Working Group on the Regional Information Network on Antimicrobial Resistance that a surveillance program be initiated among member states of the Western Pacific Region to contain and prevent resistance to antimicrobials, the Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Program (ARSP) was created by virtue of Department Of Health’s Department Order 339-J s 1988. The agency in charge of the program was the Bureau of Research and Laboratories (BRL). The objective of the surveillance program is to have a rational basis for the selection of antimicrobial agents by having up-to-date information on the susceptibility of the more important bacteria to these agents. The committee was tasked with:
- Establishing a national surveillance program for antimicrobial resistance;
- Standardizing laboratory procedures for antibiotic susceptibility testing;
- Conducting workshops/seminars for national and regional laboratory personnel;
- Collecting and analysing data on the prevalence of antimicrobial resistance of organisms of clinical and public health importance.
- Disseminating information on antimicrobial resistance trends.
Dr. Mediadora C. Saniel, then director of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) was designated chairman of the committee with the following members:
- Melecia Velmonte from the Philippine General Hospital
- Claro Cabrera from the Far Eastern University Hospital
- Lourdes Santiago from the San Lazaro Hospital
- Myrna Mendoza from the Lung Center of the Philippines and National Kidney and Transplant Institute
- Patricia Joyce from the Naval Army Medical Research Unit (NAMRU)
- Protacio Arcellana from the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center
- Rosita de Leon from the Bureau of Research and Laboratories
- Rizalina Riel as secretary from the Bureau of Research and Laboratories (BRL)
The ARSP’s first annual report covered the period Sept 1988-Dec 1989 and has produced such report on a yearly basis from then on.
In 1993, the ARSP chairmanship was transferred to Dr. Celia Carlos in view of Dr. Saniel’s retirement from RITM. Ms. Marietta Lagrada was also appointed ARSP Laboratory Director.
On May 4, 1994, Department Order 170-C s. 1994 was issued transferring the agency in charge of the ARSP from the BRL to the RITM and made the RITM in charge of the quality assurance program in microbiology for the Department of Health (DOH).
Dr. Celia Carlos and Ms. Marietta Lagrada (L-R) with Dr. Lourdes Espina, then Director of Corazon Locsin Memorial Medical Center, during a visit in 1998 as part of preliminary evaluation of the hospital as potential sentinel site of the program.