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FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Calls for responsible antibiotic use renewed on Antibiotic Awareness Week

Crowd-sourced good practices in agriculture production showcased

13/11/2017 Bangkok, Thailand

More than a year after the urgent call by the United Nations for countries to address antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations renewed its commitment to address  antimicrobials (like antibiotics) use in food and agriculture sectors.

There have been increasing activities in Asia and the Pacific tackling AMR, however, the threat of about 5 million people in Asia dying yearly by 2050 because of infections linked to AMR remains real. The FAO, World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) are collaborating and coordinating activities in the region to prevent the projected catastrophic consequences.

Good practices: Keys to prudent use of antimicrobials

This year’s antibiotic awareness week theme is to seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional before taking antibiotics. For food and agriculture, this means that one of the best ways to tackle AMR is to diminish the need of antimicrobials at farm settings through promotion of good practices in livestock production, aquaculture farming and crop production. 

“FAO advocates for the implementation of good practices in terrestrial and aquatic production and health systems,” said Kundhavi Kadiresan, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific as she formally opened the Antibiotic Awareness Week celebrations in the Region. “[These] are practical steps that would promote prudent use of antimicrobials in the region,” she explained.

Crowd-sourced stories of good practices

On the occasion of the 3rd World Antibiotic Awareness Week, the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific launched a storytelling contest encouraging the public to submit stories with photographs of what they perceive as good farming practices contributing to prudent use of antimicrobials. More than 40 entries were received from nine countries in Asia.  

Among the good practices, regular vaccination; cleaning and disinfection; using antibiotic alternatives; seeking technical assistance from qualified professional; and, implementing strict biosecurity emerged.

The good stories and photos were simultaneously exhibited in two locations in Bangkok as World Antibiotic Awareness Week celebrations started worldwide. 

The regional winners of the storytelling contest were from Viet Nam. Drs Nhu Van Thu and Ho Thi Thuong featured a swine farmer from Hung Yen Province who regularly sought technical assistance and invested in improving his farm facilities aside from implementing strict biosecurity. Drs Nhu and Ho were flown to Bangkok to witness the opening of the WAAW celebrations and received their recognition certificates.

Colleagues from WHO, OIE and donor representatives from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Mott MacDonald (manager of the United Kingdom Government’s Fleming Fund) witnessed the formal opening of the exhibits at FAO RAP. Some representatives of the Thai government, the private and public sectors were also present.

The participants also took part in posting their AMR Pledge on their social media accounts. They posted their statement on how they would contribute to prudent use of antibiotics.  

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