FAO in Indonesia

The Ministry of Agriculture and FAO Raise Public Awareness on Disease Threats and Antimicrobial Resistance

Students of University of West Nusa Tenggara are excited to learn more about AMR, EIDs and Zoonoses

Mataram, Lombok (April 6, 2019) – The Directorate General of Livestock and Animal Health Services (DGLAHS), Ministry of Agriculture together with the Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO ECTAD Indonesia) and a number of cross-sectoral partners raise public awareness on the threats of diseases and antimicrobial resistance by providing a Studium Generale public lecture at the University of West Nusa Tenggara (UNTB). This public lecture marks the completion of a series of public lectures in eleven veterinary faculties all over Indonesia.

This activity has been conducted since 2017 to discuss important global health issues, especially antimicrobial resistance (AMR), antimicrobial usage (AMU), emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) and zoonoses – diseases that can spread from animals to humans and vice versa.

"Our community is still unaware about the dangers of AMR/AMU, emerging infectious diseases and zoonoses. Therefore, universities play an important role to increase public awareness. Universities which produce future health professionals and agents of change must update their knowledge about recent health challenges that require joint commitment across sectors and across institutions," says Dr. Syamsul Ma'arif, Director of Veterinary Public Health, Ministry of Agriculture.

Dr. Fadjar Sumping Tjatur Rasa, Director of Animal Health, also adds that the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance is closely related to the irresponsible use of antimicrobials in the livestock sector, such as the use of antibiotic growth promoters (AGP); antibiotics usage without veterinary supervision and inaccurate disease diagnosis cause ineffective treatments. Hence, universities are expected to equip students with knowledge on the prudent use of antimicrobials.

Involvement of cross-sectoral institutions and partners foster OH approach 

Dr. James McGrane, FAO ECTAD Indonesia Team Leader appreciated the involvement of cross-sectoral and cross-institutional partners, including the Coordinating Ministry of Human Development and Culture, the Ministry of Health, including the Antimicrobial Resistance Control Committee (KPRA), the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the Orang Tua Peduli Foundation, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Indonesian Veterinary Medical Association (IVMA/PDHI) and the Association of Indonesian Veterinary Faculties (AFKHI). "By engaging with representatives from the animal health, human health and environment/wildlife sectors, FAO wishes to foster a One Health approach to controlling health threats in Indonesia that prioritizes coordination, collaboration and communication," he explained.

Meanwhile, the Rector of the UNTB, Dr. Mashur, emphasized the relevance of this public lecture to the situation in NTB Province, whose main islands, namely Lombok Island - had just been hit by an earthquake in 2018, while Sumbawa Island has been facing a rabies outbreak since early 2019. “We hope that by having a deeper understanding of AMR, all of us - academics, policy makers and the wider community, can be moved to take actions so that antimicrobial resistance and zoonotic disease outbreaks do not create new disasters for our region."

Since 2017, these public lectures have reached all faculties of veterinary medicine in Indonesia in eleven universities, namely Bogor Agricultural University, Airlangga University, Hasanuddin University, Gadjah Mada University, Udayana University, Nusa Cendana University, Padjadjaran University, Brawijaya University, Wijaya Kusuma University, Syiah Kuala University, and now finally the University of West Nusa Tenggara. Although organized by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, the public lecture participants come from various health-related faculties, such as the Faculty of Animal Husbandry, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Pharmacy, and Faculty of Nursing whose participation will increase awareness of the need for One Health collaboration before embarking on their professional careers.

As a follow up, AFKHI plans to modernize the curricula of all Faculties of Veterinary Medicine throughout Indonesia with updated materials and training modules on AMR / AMU, EIDs, zoonoses and application of the One Health approach.

"We are currently in the process of adopting lessons learned on AMU / AMR, new / recurrent infectious diseases, zoonoses, and One Health into the curriculum and teaching system in faculties throughout Indonesia, to foster deeper understanding of these issues. We should start early from college time so that future health professionals can implement disease prevention and control programs while building communication, coordination and collaboration across sectors," concluded Kholik, Dean of the UNTB Faculty of Veterinary Medicine representing AFKHI.