IFSC Attends Plenary Consultation on Global Antimicrobial Resistance, 08 November 2017

In November last year the IFSC attended the Informal Consultation of Member States and relevant partners on working towards finalizing the global development and stewardship framework on antimicrobial resistance at the World Health Organisation in Geneva, Switzerland.

The consultation brought together representatives from across the world to unite on the issue of growing antimicrobial resistance rates globally. From the outset, it was stated that a high level of political engagement will be needed to implement national action plans and that in the absence of sufficient political pressure nothing will happen.

Several presentations were given including one on the state of play of the global action plan on antimicrobial resistance by Dr Marc Sprenger, Director, AMR Secretariat. Another presentation was given promoting a One Health approach in dealing comprehensively with AMR.

The global action plan was also discussed in depth which broadly includes 5 strategic objectives:

1. Improving awareness and understanding
2. Strengthening knowledge through surveillance and research
3. Reducing the incidence of infection
4. Optimising the use of antimicrobial medicines
5. Ensuring sustainable investment in research and development.

Diverse comments were made by various member states and relevant partners ranging from emphasising the necessity of effective stewardship of existing antimicrobials to the need for investment into R&D for new and even alternative therapies for priority pathogens. However, the need to be wary of any imbalance on stewardship verses R&D activities was highlighted as a concern by different countries.

Successes were shared from representatives including the UK announcing that 2017 has been the year of the lowest rates of antibiotic use nationwide in animal husbandry putting them two years ahead of target. A future initiative was announced by India who will begin a campaign called ‘Medicines with the Red Line’ which involves the outer packs of particular medicines carrying a red line to highlight that they require a doctors’ prescription with the hope that this will counter the excessive use of critically important antimicrobials.

All in all, the need for not only finalising the framework and goals but for clear targets, follow up meetings and allocation of budgets was identified as a priority to bring plans to action.

Following the meeting the World Antibiotic Awareness Week commenced which took place from the 13th-19th November and the Infection Prevention and Control unit of the WHO published new guidelines on carbapenem-resistant bacteria in healthcare facilities which you may read here: http://www.who.int/infection-prevention/publications/guidelines-cre/en/

Antimicrobial resistance is indeed the greatest threat to modern medicine. It was encouraging to attend the consultation and we look forward to seeing the latest developments as plans are brought to action for the benefit and improvement of human, animal and planetary health. The draft roadmap is available to view on the WHO website:

http://www.who.int/phi/implementation/research/WHA_BackgroundPaper-AGlobalFrameworkDevelopmentStewardship-Version2.pdf?ua=1