News and Opinions  –  2017

ReAct Asia Pacific hosts workshop on antimicrobial resistance in the farm sector

2017-06-08

Beginning of May, ReAct Asia Pacific organized a one-day consultation entitled “Workshop on Anti-Microbial Resistance and use of Antibiotics in non-human sectors” at Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of the State of Kerala, India. The workshop attracted over 60 delegates, mostly from the government Departments of Animal Husbandry, Fisheries, Agriculture, Dairy Development and Environment. Apart from this, there was representation from large farms, government institutions, and two state universities.

Sensitive delegates on antimicrobial resistance in health care and farm sectors

The forenoon session was intentioned to sensitive the delegates on the key issues of antimicrobial resistance in healthcare and farm sectors.

  • The context for the workshop was set by Dr. B. Ekbal, member of the State Planning Board and public health activist.
  • Dr. Sujith Chandy, head of ReAct Asia Pacific, laid out the mandate of ReAct and its contributions in countering this global issue.
  • Dr. Ajit Vijayan, a medical microbiologist, gave a short presentation on the mechanism of antibiotic resistance and possible scientific methods to prevent it.
  • Dr. K. Gopakumar, one of the most prolific fisheries scientists in the country, gave a talk on the alarming use of antibiotics in the inland fish and shrimp farming and also in the transport of fish seeds.
  • Dr. N.N. Sasi, Director of the Animal Husbandry department of the state, also painted a grim picture of the indiscriminate use of antibiotics, especially in the poultry and dairy farming sectors.
  • The representative from Centre for Science and Environment, Dr. Amit Khurana, gave a talk on their experiences in finding extensive antibiotic residues in agricultural products and honey. He also gave an outline of the National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance in which his organization played a significant part.

In the afternoon session, the participants were divided into 5 groups according to their area of expertise:

Group 1: Surveillance of antibiotic use and resistance in the fisheries sector
Group 2: Rational antibiotic use in fisheries sector
Group 3:  Surveillance of antibiotic use and resistance in production of food animals
Group 4: Rational antibiotic use in production of food animals
Group 5: Surveillance in environment and agriculture

An important session during the day were the group discussions.

Discussed guide based on the National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance

Each group was given a discussion guide based on the National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance, and the discussions were moderated by the organizers. Each group presented their findings and recommendations at the end of the mandated discussion time. The recommendations were mainly related to adaptation of Global- and National Action Plans on Antimicrobial Resistance in the local context.

During the course of the workshop, the Directors of the Departments of Animal Husbandry and Fisheries gave assurances that the issue of antimicrobial resistance will definitely find a prominent place in the policies of their respective departments. Also, the member of the State Planning Board stated that he will include the issue of antibiotic resistance in the upcoming 5 year plan for the state and this is a significant step for a state with population of over 35 million.