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Collaboration key to success with surveillance and monitoring on antimicrobial resistance


More than 500 participants gathered online on Tuesday 16 March 2021 to learn about the tools and resources that FAO and WHO make available to support countries in establishing and implementing their surveillance and monitoring systems on antimicrobial resistance (AMR). In the words of one participant, “it was so helpful to have everything laid out so clearly. Three different organizations, who does what, that was really well done”.

Presentations from the Codex parent organizations and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) offered a detailed insight into new collaboration and data collection systems for surveillance from small-scale to national and global operations. Codex Member Countries were encouraged to reflect on the information presented in order to ensure the Codex guideline currently under development becomes a package of flexible options and can be targeted to national needs.

What the Codex guideline is proposing “is exactly what the work in WHO is doing to support countries in establishing their surveillance”, said Jorge Matheu, WHO. The Codex guideline talks about introducing surveillance in a stepwise approach also in areas such as laboratory capacity and having well-trained staff. “It’s complex and we are supporting countries to establish and improve their surveillance,” he said.

FAO has recently been developing a new action plan on AMR. Jeff Lejeune, FAO said, “if we want people to act on surveillance, we need to make them aware and engage to do that,” to foster change. “We want to help countries strengthen their national action plans and their ability to meet Codex standards,” he said.

Gracia Brisco, Codex Secretariat said: “We expect that the Codex guidelines will provide the baseline on which countries can expand in a flexible way to design their monitoring and surveillance programs, in line with national or regional circumstances, but under an internationally formalized framework provided by Codex.”

The Tripartite Integrated Surveillance System on AMR and antimicrobial use, named TISSA, brings together the three organizations working on AMR surveillance-related issues. “We are all pretty excited to see this becoming a reality,” said Jorge Pinto Ferreira, OIE. It is challenging for anyone to attempt to visualize AMR data at the global level. “Different organizations started collecting data in different ways,” he said and so bringing this data all together brings a lot of technical challenges”.

Participants showed their appreciation for the information presented. Reinhild Benning from Environmental Action Germany said: “In Germany we find high rates of AMR in E. coli and other species on poultry meat which is also exported to other world regions. We are concerned about spreading AMR via meat exports.”

Many countries face challenges. “For the Caribbean, the most pressing challenges are funding and capacity building. There is a core group currently discussing implementation of AMR surveillance, but it will be very limited in terms of scope over the next several years,” said Paul Brown from the University of the West Indies.

Antoine Lury from Agronomists and Veterinarians Without Borders noted the predominance of institutional support in countries compared to local capacity for data collection through community animal health or human health workers. “it is fundamental to collect proper and regular data at field level” he said.

Christopher Lloyd, UK, said “Ensuring there is a common language as best as possible is important. The UK experience was that when we started talking about antibiotic use, and how to capture and measure it, we needed to introduce a new language …[that] helps people compare apples with apples”.

Daniela Battaglia organized the webinar for FAO. “It was fascinating to learn about the wide array of tools and stories from the countries on how those tools are being applied,” she said.


Learn more

FAO AMR website

FAO work on surveillance and monitoring

For information on the Multi-Partner Trust Fund on AMR

Papers in scientific journals

FAO Progressive Management Pathway for AMR:

WHO work on AMR: