Asia-Pacific nations pledge to combat antimicrobial resistance

Antibiotic sensitvity and resistance Dr Graham Beards CommonsRepresentatives from countries in Asia and the Pacific have pledged to take immediate action to combat the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

The pledge was made with the support and collaboration of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organization (WHO). It reaffirms a wider commitment to combat AMR and increase awareness about the scale of the problem in order to stop the emergence and accelerating misuse of antimicrobial medicines in humans and animals.

AMR occurs when microorganisms develop resistance to antimicrobials, making illnesses in humans and animals harder to treat. Overuse and misuse of antimicrobials in both, as well as in plants, are causing an increase in cases of AMR globally. When occurring in farm animals, where farmers often routinely give antibiotics to their livestock, such resistance can be transferred to humans through the food chain or other routes.

Earlier this year, the O’Neill Report, commissioned by the Government of the United Kingdom, declared that action to fight AMR was needed immediately in order to head off a human death toll in Asia of up to five mn annually by 2050.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the three agencies are already working closely and they are making headway.

“The strong partnership among FAO, OIE and WHO is a good foundation to assist countries to establish harmonized AMR surveillance and documentation of antimicrobial usage in Asia while taking corrective actions,” said Kundhavi Kadiresan, assistant director-general and FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific.

“The three organisations collaborate closely at global and regional level to help their member countries implement sustainable changes in their use of antimicrobials, in particular through the implementation of OIE international standards. To achieve such a change of practices, inter-sectoral coordination between the public health and veterinary sectors is essential to lead member countries to take harmonised actions and long term commitments against antimicrobial resistance,” said Hirofumi Kugita, OIE Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific.

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