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Antimicrobial Resistance

Sudan to fight antimicrobial resistance by developing a multi-sector national action plan

03/08/2017

Experts in agriculture, health and the environment joined forces at a workshop in Khartoum, Sudan, 24 to 27 July, to draft a National Action Plan (NAP) tackling the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when pathogens become immune to the substances (“anti-microbials”) used to kill or neutralize them. The consequences of AMR are devastating for our health, food and livelihoods.

This year alone an estimated 700,000 people will die because of AMR, and if nothing is done now, this number will increase by 2050 to an estimated 10 million deaths every year – more people than currently die from cancer.1  Unless we take action globally, within thirty years the failure of antimicrobials may strip the global economy of USD 100 trillion, though the full cost of AMR is hard to pin down as it affects so many sectors.1,2

FAO further cautions that antimicrobial resistance can cause food insecurity through production losses, and that the misuse of antimicrobial drugs compromises food safety and pollutes soil and water with drug residues and resistant microbes. These resistant microbes can spread across borders, through the food chain, between people and animals, and in the environment, creating a problem of global scale and necessitating better antimicrobial management practices within and across sectors and countries.

“We need to understand the importance of effective antimicrobials in our lives,” says Ahmadu Babagana, FAO Representative for Sudan. “They are essential for human health, animal health, animal welfare, sustainable food and animal production, and food security. These life-saving drugs must remain available and accessible to agriculture and livestock sectors so that food production can meet the needs of a growing global population.” “[We must] ensure that antimicrobials are regulated and used in a responsible manner.”

Dr Naeema Al Gasseer, WHO Representative for Sudan, also emphasized that, “[We] must steer clear of fake antimicrobial drugs…and overprescription and overuse must be stopped.” Dr Alireza Mafi, workshop co-organizer from the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office (WHO/EMRO), also explains that, “AMR is one of the biggest threats of our time that could remain with us for many years. We need to think globally and act locally to be on the right track in countering AMR.”

The workshop organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO), provided support for Sudan’s Ministries of Health, Agriculture, Animal Resources, and Environment to develop a multi-sectoral framework for managing AMR and the effective use of antimicrobials. Once finalized with support of its Government, Sudan will be the fourth country in the region to have a NAP, which implements AMR management across sectors.3

Dr April Johnson, workshop co-organizer and member of FAO’s AMR Working Group adds that, “Sudan is one of the countries supported by FAO through the Fleming Fund project, and this support will enable implementation of national action plan activities such as AMR monitoring and management once the national action plan is finalized.”

“Following the Global Action Plan on antimicrobial resistance adopted at the 68th World Health Assembly in 2015, all countries are urged to develop a comprehensive National Action Plan.”

“Antimicrobial resistance is a global problem and here at FAO we are supporting national efforts as we strive together towards a global solution.
To support global efforts to protect the effectiveness of antimicrobials, the UK government initiated the Fleming Fund to tackle the growing threat of AMR in low and middle-income countries.

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[1] O’Neill, O.J. 2016. Tackling Drug-Resistant Infections Globally: Final Report and Recommendations. The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance.

[2] Smith R. and Coast J. 2013. The true cost of antimicrobial resistance. BMJ 346, f1493.

[3] Gos, WHO, FAO, and OIE fight antimicrobial resistance with new national plan

 

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