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FAO launches three Year project to combat Antimicrobial Resistance in Zambia

Dr. Jabbin Mulwanda, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Health- Technical Services. © FAO

19 May 2017, Lusaka - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has launched the Zambia component of a project aimed at combating Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). The project called “Engaging the food and agriculture sectors in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia in the global efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance using a One Health approach” is funded by the United Kingdom government’s Fleming Fund.

The project will provide support to countries to develop and implement National Action Plans to combat antimicrobial resistance. It will also support AMR data collection and surveillance in the food and agriculture sectors, review of national policies and legislation to address AMR and antimicrobial use and promote the adoption of good practices in food and agriculture to minimize the threat of AMR. Benefiting countries include; Ethiopia, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Philippines, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Viet Nam and Bangladesh. 

In Zambia, the project will be implemented by FAO in partnership with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock and the Ministry of Agriculture in close collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), World Animal Health Organization (OIE) and other national stakeholders.

Speaking at the AMR orientation and inception meeting, the Secretary to the Cabinet Dr. Roland Msiska reiterated Zambia’s commitment to addressing the AMR threat.  “Zambia through the President, His Excellency Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu at the 71st UN General Assembly of September 2016, where a declaration for a collaborative global response to the threat of AMR was made, committed to join the fight against AMR,” stated Dr. Msiska.

Dr. Msiska further reaffirmed the Zambian government’s commitment to the fight against AMR. “We need to put our heads together to come up with solutions on how this problem could be addressed. Technocrats have led the way and we need to run with them and ensure that the plan they have developed (National Action Plan, May 2017) comes to fulfilment,” he said.

Under continued FAO efforts, Zambia has completed the National Action Plan on AMR which was presented to the Permanent Secretaries of Health and Agriculture during the event.  In response, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Health- Technical Services, Dr. Jabbin Mulwanda highlighted the importance of all key ministries and institutions coming on board to ensure that the National Action Plan on AMR has support to guarantee its successful implementation.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr. Mtendere Mphatso, FAO Zambia Country Representative (ad interim) said FAO recognizes the critical role that antimicrobial drugs play in achieving the Organization’s goal of food and nutrition security for all. He mentioned that, in the agricultural sector, antimicrobial drugs are used in animals (both terrestrial and aquatic animals) and crop production for treatment of diseases and pests. Mr. Mphatso also reiterated FAO’s commitment to addressing the AMR threat in support of FAO’s member states’ resolution underlining the commitment to address AMR in food and agriculture, at the FAO Conference of June 2015.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has become a global health and a food security concern and may degenerate into a global pandemic in the near future if urgent steps are not taken to minimize its growth and spread. The impact and consequences of AMR are certainly fatal. Currently, it is estimated that globally, up to 700,000 people die each year due to AMR-related causes. It is projected that by 2050, AMR could cause more than 10 million human fatalities – the majority of them in developing countries, coupled with huge and economic losses of more than USD 100 trillion annually.

FAO has developed a five-year FAO Action Plan (2016 - 2020) on AMR which sets out the Organization’s strategy to address AMR in the food and agriculture sectors globally under four key pillars; Awareness, Evidence, Practices and Governance.

Useful AMR links:

FAO - mailto:http://www.fao.org/antimicrobial-resistance/en/

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