Kazakhstan aims to reduce the threat of antimicrobial resistance in food and agriculture

FAO experts visit a state veterinary lab in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan @FAO/Dinara Bekmagambetova

Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan has conducted an assessment of the national antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance system and laboratories in the food and agriculture sectors in Kazakhstan.  

The assessment mission aimed to identify and recommend the next steps to improve the national surveillance capacities for the detection of AMR in the food and agriculture sectors using the FAO Assessment Tool for Laboratories and AMR Surveillance Systems (FAO-ATLASS).

During the five-day mission, meetings were held with key national experts for AMR surveillance in food and agriculture and representatives from other sectors to collect information on the context of AMR surveillance and monitoring activities ongoing in Kazakhstan. FAO representatives also visited several national laboratories mapping available analytical capacities for AMR detection and assessing activities on data collection and analysis, governance structure linked to surveillance, communication, and sustainability. The results and the recommendation of the assessment are expected to help Kazakhstan prioritize interventions for improvement and to inform FAO for planning further activities to better support the country.


Global health priority

Antimicrobial resistance is a global health priority due to its high negative impacts on human and animal health, food safety, livelihoods and sustainable development of the agriculture sector. Resistance arising in one geographical location or species can spread with ease to other geographical locations or spill over into other species and impact developed and developing countries alike.

The consequences of AMR include the failure to successfully treat human and animal infections, leading to more severe or prolonged illness and death. It also results in animal and crop production losses jeopardizing the livelihoods and food security of the poor farming communities. The indirect impacts of AMR extend beyond health risks or reduced productivity, and include higher costs for treatment and healthcare, and a significant drain on national and global resources. In 2019, 5 million human deaths were associated with bacterial antimicrobial resistance worldwide, including 1.3 million human fatalities attributable to bacterial AMR.

FAO plays a key role in supporting governments, producers, traders and other stakeholders to move towards the responsible use of antimicrobials in agriculture, thus helping reduce antimicrobial resistance in agrifood systems. Strengthening AMR surveillance, including the improvement of laboratory capacities, is one of the five objectives of the FAO Action Plan on AMR 2021–2025.

FAO-ATLASS has been used to date in Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Ukraine, as well as in several countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.