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The POLICY focus area of the Toolbox describes the practical steps to develop or strengthen policies on antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotic resistance is a multi-sectorial problem, involving population health, animal welfare, environmental, ecological, sociological and economic dimensions. To manage the problem, policies that address antibiotic resistance and effectively coordinate a national and international response are needed.

Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance

At the 67th World Health Assembly, the World Health Organization was asked to develop a Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance. The plan was written based on several multi-stakeholder consultations and was adopted at the 68th World Health Assembly in May 2015. The Global Action Plan encourages all Member States to increase their commitment to comprehensively tackle the full spectrum of the antimicrobial resistance issue. The Global Action Plan outlines 5 strategic objectives:

  • to improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance;
  • to strengthen knowledge through surveillance and research;
  • to reduce the incidence of infection;
  • to optimize the use of antimicrobial agents; and
  • to develop the economic case for sustainable investment that takes account of the needs of all countries, and increase investment in new medicines, diagnostic tools, vaccines and other interventions.

Many of the essential components that are needed for a comprehensive response to control antibiotic resistance have been known for a long time. However, little of this knowledge has so far successfully been translated into action. In most countries, it remains a challenge to coordinate actions between different stakeholders and sectors.

Africa CDC Framework for Antimicrobial Resistance

In response to the recommendations laid out in the Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), Africa CDC developed a framework for addressing the issue.  A key component is the establishment of an Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Network (AMRSNET), to meet needs specific to Africa. The network is to be constituted of public health institutions and leaders from both human and animal health sectors. For 2018 to 2023, the goals of AMRSNET are to:

  • Improve surveillance of resistant organisms
  • Delay emergence of antimicrobial resistance
  • Limit transmission of antimicrobial resistance
  • Mitigate harm among patients with resistant infections

Advocating for policies and laws to prevent and control AMR, engaging civil society and ensuring employment of educated and trained staff are pointed out as key to achieve these goals. More laboratory personnel and staff working on infection prevention and control are particularly needed. The Africa CDC framework is available for download in English, French and Arabic.

African common position on antimicrobial resistance

In September 2020, African Union’s Heads of State and Government endorsed an “African common position on antimicrobial resistance”. One of their six specified requests to the African Union Commission is to fund and manage an African Union Task force on AMR that shall monitor, review, coordinate and develop policies on AMR, taking a One Health approach.

African Union Framework for Antimicrobial Resistance Control 2020-2025

In March 2021, the African Union released their framework for antimicrobial resistance control 2020-2025, which describes the priorities for the coming years. The aim is to improve surveillance, delay emergence, limit transmission and mitigate harm from antimicrobial resistance. Detailed targets, and strategies to reach these, are described in chapter 5 to 8.

What does the POLICY focus area cover?

The POLICY focus area of the Toolbox aims to help policy makers and other stakeholders in their work to develop and implement policies that address antibiotic resistance.

  • Global policy explains the importance of global governance and outlines the timelines and processes around global AMR policy
  • National action plans gives an overview of the importance of coordinated national action and some potential challenges in the process.
  • Develop a national action plan provides a step-wise guide for planning, implementing and evaluating a national action plan on antibiotic resistance.
  • Implement a plan presents possible components to include in an action plan framework, and resources/tools to help implement these components.
  • Inspirational examples describes policy initiatives related to antibiotic resistance.

The guiding narrative text is accompanied by “Selected resources” that may be used directly or adapted to your particular setting. Browse through then pick and choose what material is most helpful for you!

World Health Organization - WHO. Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance [Internet]. World Health Organization; 2015 [cited 2016 Jan 11]. Available from:
African Union. African Union Framework for Antimicrobial Resistance Control 2020–2025 [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2021 Mar 23]. Available from:
African Union, Africa CDC. African Union Heads Of State And Government Endorse African Common Position On Controlling Antimicrobial Resistance [Internet]. [cited 2020 Oct 16]. Available from:
African Union, Africa CDC. Africa CDC Framework for Antimicrobial Resistance [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2020 Oct 16]. Available from: