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Press Release: FAO and Cambodia partner to review legislation to address superbugs

14/03/2019

March 14, 2019, CAMBODIA: The Royal Government of Cambodia and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations will collaborate to strengthen legislation on antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial use.

A team of technical staff from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), the Ministry of Health (MoH), the Ministry of Environment (MOE), academia, the private sector and development partners at national and sub-national levels will meet on tomorrow, 15March 2019, to review existing legislation relevant for antimicrobial resistance (AMR). They aim to identify ways forward for concerted efforts and long-term commitments to attain a regulatory framework that effectively addresses AMR. 

AMR occurs when microorganisms develop resistance to antimicrobials and makes diseases harder to treat. The overuse and misuse of antimicrobials in humans, agriculture and food production have led to a reduced ability to successfully treat infections by antimicrobials such as antibiotics, anti-virals and anti-malarials that were designed to fight them.

If there is no intervention, AMR-associated human mortality is projected to soar to over 10 million annually by 2050. Asia is expected to account for half of this projected global mortality.

Strengthening legal frameworks to tackle Superbugs

AMR is exacerbated by the unregulated and irrational use of antimicrobials. Examples of misuse include using antibiotics for viral infections such as colds and flu and using them for disease prevention and as animal growth promoters in livestock or in aquaculture.

To combat AMR, and a number of regulatory solutions relevant to AMR and antimicrobial use (AMU) have been put in place including Prakas (a regulation issued by a Minister of Cambodia concerning certain issues) under the Animal Health and Production Law, the food safety regulations and environmental legislation. However, there is a need to review gaps and strengthen the legal framework in the country to sustain the efforts towards combatting AMR.

“Legislation is essential for the sustainability of policy, and clarifying roles and responsibilities in the fight against AMR. By applying a multi-sectoral, so called “One Heath approach” legislation may be coordinated across sectors, thereby achieving a comprehensive legal framework across multiple regulatory areas, with the aim to protect the health of people and ensure food security,” said Dr Kristina Osbjer, Team Leader of the FAO Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) in Cambodia.

The spread of AMR makes treating common infectious diseases, such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, and salmonellosis harder. It leads to higher medical costs, prolonged treatment periods, and increased mortality in people and animals. Each year AMR is estimated to kill more than 700,000 people globally.

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For media inquiries please kindly contact Mr. Oum Sokkhoeun, National Communications and Advocacy Officer, Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD), FAO Cambodia.

Tel: 012 529 296, Email: sokkhoeun.oum@fao.org 

Note to Editor:

-  FAO in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO) and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) are supporting the Royal Government of Cambodia in the framework of the tripartite programme “Supporting countries in South and South-East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa to develop and implement national action plans to combat antimicrobial resistance using a “One Health” approach”, funded by the Fleming Fund of the United Kingdom (UK) Department of Health. For more information on AMR, please visit this link.

-  One-Health (OH) is an approach for preventing and mitigating health threats at the Animal-Human-Plant-Environment interfaces with the objective of safeguarding public health and wellbeing.