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Awareness to Action against AMR on European Antibiotic Awareness Day 2019

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD, has highlighted the global challenge associated with Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) on today, European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) which coincides with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) World Antibiotic Awareness Week (18 – 24 November 2019). 

 

The WHO has described AMR as “a catastrophe that must be managed with the utmost urgency”. Minister Creed stated that whilst AMR is firstly a serious public health concern, it is also a challenge for animal health and welfare as well as our shared environment. The Minister also commented that antibiotics need to be safeguarded for the benefit of both humans and animals, and that strategies to reduce the use of antibiotics in both the human and animal health sectors is seen as a key intervention in tackling AMR. Minister Creed said that actions can be taken to improve animal health and prevent disease which will help reduce the use of antibiotics.

 

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Department of Health have adopted a ‘One Health’ approach to AMR and encourage multidisciplinary collaborative efforts across different sectors such as health, agriculture and the environment to achieve the best health outcomes for people and animals. The Minister acknowledged the sustained collaboration and leadership shown by industry stakeholders across the human healthcare and agri-food and environmental sectors in addressing the challenge of AMR.

 

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is pleased to jointly organise the upcoming “ONE HEALTH Antimicrobial and Anthelmintic Resistance Conference Awareness to Action” taking place in the Tullamore Court Hotel on Wednesday 27 November 2019. The Minister has welcomed this conference as a means of highlighting the continued global concern in relation to Antimicrobial Resistance, and its potential threat to human and animal health, as well as the challenges to food security and the environment. The conference underlines Ireland's continuing commitment to addressing the challenge of AMR and focusses on creating a greater awareness of AMR amongst farmers and professionals serving the agri-food industry. There will also be an emphasis on clear concise practical actions which can be taken on Irish farms to reduce their need to use antimicrobials and anthelmintics.

 

Finally, the Minister acknowledged the ongoing support and collaboration with industry stakeholders, particularly the members of the iNAP animal health sector committee who are working to deliver the many actions contained in Ireland’s National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance 2017-2020. The ambitious implementation plan for the animal health and environmental sector can only be achieved by various stakeholders taking on leadership roles and working in partnership.

 

Notes for Editors

 

What is AMR?

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is resistance of a microorganism to a drug that was originally effective for treatment of infections caused by that microorganism. Resistant microorganisms (including bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites) are able to withstand attack by antimicrobial drugs, such as antibacterial drugs (e.g., antibiotics), antifungals, antivirals, and antimalarials, so that standard treatments become ineffective and infections persist, increasing the risk of spread to others.

 

Antibiotic resistance refers specifically to the resistance to antibiotics that occurs in common bacteria that cause infections.  Antimicrobial resistance is a broader term, encompassing resistance to drugs to treat infections caused by other microbes as well.

 

 

What is the effect of AMR?

A European Centre for Disease Control/European Medicines Agency (ECDC/EMEA) 2009 Report estimated that in 2007 drug-resistant bacteria were responsible for about 25,000 human deaths per annum in the EU alone, with associated healthcare costs and productivity losses of €1.5bn. The Report also stated that approx. 4 million patients are estimated to acquire a healthcare associated infection in the EU every year.  (ECDC JOINT TECHNICAL REPORT 'The Bacterial Challenge: time to react' (2009)).

 

What does ‘One Health’ mean?

The 'One Health' concept is a worldwide strategy for expanding interdisciplinary collaborations and communications in all aspects of health care for humans, animals and the environment.  Recognising that human health, animal health and ecosystem health are inextricably linked, ‘One Health’ seeks to promote, improve and defend the health and well-being of all species by enhancing cooperation and collaboration between physicians, veterinarians, other scientific health and environmental professionals and by promoting strengths in leadership and management to achieve these goals.

There is international consensus through the ‘One Health’ Initiative to which the WHO (World Health Organisation), FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) and the OIE (World Health Organisation for Animal Health) are signatories, that tackling the global public health threat of AMR requires action across human and animal health sectors, agriculture and the wider environment. 

At a national level the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and the Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) of the Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, respectively, established the National Interdepartmental Antimicrobial Resistance Consultative Committee in 2014 as part of the ‘One Health‘ initiative, and to advance a holistic national approach in working together to ensure that effective antibiotics remain available into the future.

 

 

What are the other developments at the international level in relation to AMR?

In June 2016, the European Council adopted a set of conclusions in relation to AMR entitled ‘The next steps under a ‘One Health’ approach to combat antimicrobial resistance’.  The Council called on Member States to develop national action plans in line with the WHO Action Plan.

 

In September 2016, the UN General Assembly adopted a Political Declaration on Antimicrobial Resistance which reaffirmed that the blueprint for tackling AMR is the WHO Global Action Plan on AMR and its five overarching strategic objectives. The General Assembly reaffirmed countries commitments to produce national action plans based on the five strategic objectives in the WHO Action Plan.

In June 2017 the European Commission published its second AMR action plan entitled 'A European One Health Action Plan against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)'. This second action plan builds on the political commitment and actions achieved by the first EU action plan (2011-2016). The overarching goal of the new plan is to preserve the efficacy of antimicrobials so that they remain effective disease treatment options for humans and animals into the future.

 

iNAP is Ireland's response to international calls to produce a multisectoral action plan to tackle AMR.  Ireland is fully committed to and engaged in addressing resolution of the problem of AMR.  We will continue to collaborate at international, EU and national levels to this end. 

Ireland’s National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance 2017 – 2020 is available at:

https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/media/migration/animalhealthwelfare/amr/iNAP251017.pdf

 

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine AMR webpage available at

https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/amr/

 AMR Launch

ENDS

                       

Press and Information Office

 

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Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

 

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Date Released: 18 November 2019