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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.

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.

  • National action plans gives an overview of the importance of coordinated national action and some potential challenges in the process.
  • Develop and implement a plan provides a step-wise guide for planning, implementing and evaluating a national action plan on antibiotic resistance.
  • Elements of 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]. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2015 [cited 2016 Jan 11]. Available from: