The international community considers the increasing occurrence and spread of bacterial resistance against antimicrobials reported in recent years as a major risk that requires commitment from the whole of society. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is indeed a challenge, endangering human and animal health and also animal welfare, according to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
As it is aware of this major issue facing future generations, OIE has worked for many years on the subject, in particular by developing dedicated international standards that were revised in 2015. OIE has also taken part in development and implementation of the World Health Organization's global action plan against AMR.
However, these international initiatives, although endorsed by the member countries of various organizations, can only fully bear fruit if they are carried out effectively in these countries, OIE said.
According to an OIE study, in more than 110 of the 130 countries questioned, there is a lack of comprehensive and relevant legislation regulating the conditions for import, manufacture, distribution and use of veterinary medicines, including antimicrobials. Consequently, these products are often freely sold, and their use is unsupervised by animal health professionals.
The lack of quality controls for these products is also a cause for concern. Indeed, OIE said a study in 2012 showed that, in more than 22% of countries with legislation on veterinary medicines, quality control of such medicines had not been included in the legislation.
The implementation of international standards and recommendations requires substantial effort at national level, where the actual situation on the ground is sometimes restrictive, often due to the absence of adapted legislation, under-funded veterinary services and the existence of parallel markets that are outside the control of health authorities.
Therefore, at the 84th General Session of the World Assembly of National Delegates meeting this week in Paris, France, OIE presented its member countries with the basic principles of its strategy to assist them at the national level to, step by step, prepare a legal framework and build the necessary capacity to manage the AMR problem more effectively.
Implementing this strategy will enable countries to benefit from the series of measures developed by OIE, in accordance with its mandate, to assist them in carrying out the following actions:
* Regulate the manufacture, circulation and use of antimicrobials in animals, according to international standards;
* Train animal health professionals;
* Communicate to raise awareness among stakeholders;
* Avail high-quality products and their alternatives;
* Ensure veterinary supervision of antimicrobial use in animal health to make sure they are used prudently and responsibly, and
* Monitor antimicrobial use and the development of resistance.
In fact, in addition to its international standards and network of scientific expertise, OIE offers, particularly to its member countries, multiple tools to build national capacity in order to achieve better governance of animal health and, as a result, better management of veterinary medicines.
OIE said creating and managing a database to gather information on the use of antimicrobial agents in animals, as well as development of performance indicators, is also under way to assist countries toward increased information flow and transparency in their use of antimicrobials.
Meanwhile, a network of OIE experts will be working to reinforce scientific knowledge, especially on new technologies and replacement solutions for current antimicrobial agents.
Finally, OIE will continue to support its members as they raise awareness of AMR, including in regard to animal health and disease prevention on the farm, to contribute to a reduction in the quantities of antimicrobials used.
After the detailed presentation this morning of a report on this issue by Dr. Jean-Pierre Orand, director of the OIE Collaborating Centre for Veterinary Medicines, a resolution endorsing the principles of this strategy will be presented at the General Session for adoption by the 180 national delegates.