Sharing Responsibility for Antimicrobial Resistance
With the release in May of the final report and recommendations of the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, GBCHealth has convened a group of global leaders to discuss the potential impact of AMR and their priorities for immediate action. The #GBCtalksAMR series, which will be published over the next three weeks is intended to supplement the high-level meeting on AMR that took place at the UN General Assembly meeting on 21 September, 2016.
What do you see as the priorities for addressing the challenge of AMR in the short term?
To address AMR in the short term, we need to get all countries on board as soon as possible, with a strong and long term political commitment.
This means that our first move should be to better assess and understand the national situations and specificities in order to allow the elaboration of a dedicated and step-wise national action plan in line of the WHO Global Action Plan.
Encouraging a switch of practices toward more sustainable ones will require providing technical and financial support to poor countries and fragile sectors. Support to improve their legislation regarding AMR and training of stakeholders should in particular be a priority.
Success in the fight against antimicrobial resistance will also require inter-sectorial collaboration and partnerships.
Is there something particular about the challenges posed by AMR that make coordinated, multi-sector action even more essential?
Effectiveness of antibiotics is not only essential for human health. These are precious medicines to protect animal health too, control animal diseases, and ensure food safety and food security.
As AMR is circulating between humans, animals, plants and the environment, change of practices should be undertaken in each sector involved, taking into account stakes of each other. We all share responsibility for the development of AMR, and we will all suffer from consequences if we do not successfully tackle this threat. It’s one of the best examples to illustrate One Health.
How can the private sector be an effective partner in the global AMR effort?
One of the key actions to tackle antimicrobial resistance is to boost research on both new antimicrobial agents and alternatives, including vaccines. In this context, the pharmaceutical sector has a leadership role to play in developing of new molecules or enhancing the use of existing classes.
Another key action in which private sector has to assume responsibility is to ensure the production and distribution of high quality products, as well as control their circulation and distribution. Counterfeit products market need to be brought under control.
What is OIE doing to ensure livestock farmers and veterinarians are leading the effort to address AMR?
The OIE supports its Member countries to raise awareness of people involved in the antimicrobial resistance issue, through trainings, and capacity building activities designed to build long term action. In particular we help our countries to improve their legal framework to control antibiotics markets, limit fraud, regulate use and impose sanctions for misuse.
OIEs standard on responsible and prudent use clearly establishes responsibilities of each sector and also lays down rules for the harmonized surveillance of AMR and the monitoring of the use of antimicrobial agents in animals.
Another area in which the OIE actively works is the collection of data on the use of antibiotics in animals. The first phase was undertaken in 2015 with a questionnaire sent to our 180 Member countries. 130 have replied and of these, 89 have a system to collect data. Such data will allow us to establish a baseline information and measure trends over time.