Given today’s potential for pathogens to quickly spread across borders, curbing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) must be an international effort. A new report, released July 18 from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organization (WHO), shows progress, but also reveals gaps and inconsistencies in how individual countries address the issue.
Positive indications from the global survey include:
- Among 154 countries surveyed, 105 have a surveillance system in place for reporting drug-resistant infections in human health.
- Sixty-eight countries use a system for tracking consumption of antimicrobials.
- Of the respondents, 123 countries have policies to regulate the sale of antimicrobials, including the requirement of a prescription for human use.
- A total of 67 countries report at least having legislation in place to control all aspects of production, licensing and distribution of antimicrobials for use in animals.
- Among the top-ten chicken-, pork- and cattle-producing countries that responded to the survey, nine have at minimum developed a national action plan; the majority of these have plans in operation with a monitoring arrangement.
Less-encouraging trends in the survey results include:
- Fifty-six countries have no national policy or legislation regarding the quality, safety and efficacy of antimicrobial products used in animal and plant health, and their distribution, sale or use, or that they were unable to report whether they have these policies in place.
- Only 64 countries report that they follow FAO-OIE-WHO recommendations to limit the use of critically important antimicrobials for growth promotion in animal production. Of these, 39 are high-income countries, with the majority in WHO’s European Region. Only 3 countries from WHO’s African Region and 7 countries from the WHO Region of the Americas have taken this step.
- Although 67 countries report having legislation in place to control all aspects of production, licensing and distribution of antimicrobials for use in animals, another 56 said that they had no national policy or legislation regarding the quality, safety and efficacy of antimicrobial products used in animal and plant health, and their distribution, sale or use, or they were unable to report whether they have these policies in place.
- Among 78 countries with regulations to prevent environmental contamination, only 10 report having comprehensive systems to ensure regulatory compliance for all waste management, including regulations that limit the discharge of antimicrobial residues into the environment.
- Only 53 countries report that they have a multisectoral working group that is fully functional, although a further 77 have established such a group.
- Only 10 countries report that the funding for all actions in their plan is identified and many middle- and low-income countries may need long-term development assistance to implement their plans effectively and sustainably.
More information, including the full report, is available online from the WHO.