The bulk of the world’s antibiotics is used in the food animal and agricultural sector, often for non-therapeutic purposes, from where antimicrobial resistance finds its way into the human health sector. Antibiotic production in some parts of the world results in the release of effluents into the environment that further results in increased resistance.
The Centre for Science and the Environment hosted International Workshop on National Action Plan on antimicrobial resistance for developing countries (November 10-11, 2016)
To highlight the need to include these concerns in National Action Plans on Antimicrobial Resistance in developing countries, a global meet of doctors, veterinarians, pharmacists, medical researchers, health bureaucrats and civil society activists was organized in New Delhi by the Food Safety and Toxins team at the Centre for Science and Environment.
Participants from 18 developed and developing countries, and including three delegates from ReAct Asia Pacific and ReAct North America, attended the workshop. The first day of the workshop saw expert presentations from participants around various aspects of antimicrobial resistance from food animals. There was sharing of best practices, challenges, and suggestions to move forward, largely based on country-level experiences. The critical areas of discussion involved responsible antibiotic use in food animal production, surveillance of antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance and addressing the environmental aspect of the antimicrobial resistance problem.
Discussions on antibiotic use in food animal production, surveillance of antibiotic use and the environmental aspect of AMR
Day two of the workshop entailed intense discussions among working groups, across the three themes, followed by a presentation of relevant inputs that could be considered for incorporation in the National Action Plan, being drafted by many countries. Participating experts and also representatives of the WHO, FAO, and OIE discussed and agreed on the importance of containing the environmental spread of antimicrobial resistance during the workshop.
In his presentation, Dr. Anthony So, head of ReAct North America, said that projections showed rapidly increasing consumption of animal protein in several parts of the developing world. Unless sufficient investments are made to eliminate the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in this sector now the cost of tackling the problem of AMR at a later stage would be prohibitively high. Dr. So also emphasized the need for shifting consumer demand, improving animal husbandry practices and innovation to find new vaccines and diagnostics for disease.