While antibiotic resistance has long been identified as a health issue, it has only recently acquired global political momentum. If we want to tackle the spread of antibiotic resistance, the current high-level attention and commitment must be translated into action at country level.
In 2015, WHO member states committed to the Global Action Plan on antimicrobial resistance, a blueprint for the world’s action on antimicrobial resistance. Each country has committed to developing a comprehensive and multi-sectoral National Action Plan by the 2017 World Health Assembly.
From development to implementation
Even though antibiotic resistance is a global issue, major parts of the work needed to address the problem must be done at national and local level. A National Action Plan can serve as a core strategy to coordinate and align activities of different stakeholders and across relevant sectors and provide the necessary legal and political framework for action.
WHO has published a manual for developing National Action Plans that aims to assist countries in identifying and prioritizing activities on the ground level. However, having a National Action Plan in place is only the first step. The years ahead will need to see countries implementing these plans by involving all levels of government and society.