Antimicrobial Resistance

Surveillance and Monitoring

What is surveillance?

Surveillance is the systematic ongoing collection, collation and analysis of data, and the timely dissemination of information to relevant stakeholders, particularly those who are in a position to take action.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance and monitoring detects and tracks changes and trends in microbial populations including drug-resistant microorganisms and resistant determinants such as genes and resistance mechanisms.

One Health AMR surveillance systems integrate findings on drug-resistant microorganisms in animals, humans, plants and the environment. This involves sharing data and information across sectors for a more effective and coordinated response to tackling AMR.

Why is surveillance and monitoring important for tackling AMR?

AMR surveillance and monitoring is essential for slowing the emergence and spread of drug-resistant microorganisms in humans, animals, plants, and the environment. Surveillance systems provide data that enhances our understanding of the complex epidemiology of AMR. The data collected is crucial for treating infections, guiding policy recommendations and developing strategies to reduce AMR.

Surveillance systems in food and agriculture sectors provides timely information on i) the scale of AMR in animals, plants, and the environment, ii) the use of antimicrobial drugs, and iii) the levels of antimicrobial residues in food.

AMR surveillance information is necessary for countries to tackle AMR as allows to respond to AMR risks before they become large-scale emergencies. It is crucial for designing and monitoring AMR control programmes and for guiding the implementation and evaluation of AMR interventions.

Many countries - and especially low- and middle-income countries- need support to improve their capacity and capability for AMR surveillance and monitoring. This will help countries to generate, collect, analyse and interpret national data on AMR, antimicrobial usage, levels of antimicrobial residues along the food chain and AMR in the environment.

FAO’s work on AMR surveillance

Surveillance and monitoring is a key part of FAO's work to tackle AMR.
FAO is supporting countries in building and consolidating AMR surveillance and laboratory capacities. This support is helping countries to generate, collect and analyse high-quality epidemiological data within national AMR surveillance systems in food and agriculture sectors, and interpret findings across sectors.

FAO’s work includes:

  • Developing and deploying tools to assess and support the improvement of laboratory capacity, surveillance systems and the use of AMR data;
  • Providing training on laboratory methods for detecting and characterizing AMR and on epidemiology for managing and analysing data;
  • Establishing expert networks and broader partnerships with public and private sector stakeholders;
  • Publishing technical guidance and scientific articles on FAO surveillance initiatives;
  • Supporting the operationalization of national surveillance programmes and the implementation of community-based approaches to surveillance (both food and agriculture sector specific programmes and multi-sectoral One Health programmes).

Tools and resources:
(Please contact us if you want to know more about these tools and resources)

  1. Tools for AMR surveillance system strengthening
  2. Access to networks and resources
  3. Tools and guidance for planning on AMR surveillance systems
      • Regional guidelines on AMR monitoring and surveillance (Asia and the Pacific, East Africa upcoming)
      • AMR surveillance planning template
      • AMR surveillance implementation review
  4. Tools to support AMR data generation and management
      • Regionally customized plates for microbroth dilution method to determine minimum inhibitory concentration
      • AMR data management templates
      • Capacity building initiatives (e.g. laboratory trainings, proficiency testing)
  5. Collaboration and access to expertise on AMR surveillance
      • AMR Technical Advisory Groups  
      • AMR Technical Working Groups
      • Consultation platforms
  6. Tools for progressive improvement and sustainability, including tools for the integration of surveillance activities into initiatives promoting good practices and prudent use of antimicrobials

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