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ACT project launched in Nepal, 50 stakeholders agree on AMR priorities


As part of the “Action to support implementation of Codex AMR Texts (ACT)” project, FAO Nepal organized a one-day workshop on the implementation of Codex standards for foodborne antimicrobial resistance (AMR) on 5 December 2022.  50 participants from the government, various ministries, academia, and private sector (feed production, aquaculture, livestock production, food safety, laboratory testing) joined the event. 

“We wanted to convene AMR stakeholders in Nepal to assess the level of implementation of the Codex standards on foodborne AMR. The participants discussed the strengths and weaknesses in the current approaches, prioritized the next activities, identified the responsible stakeholders and suggested the timeline for completing these plans,” said Sakar Shivakoti, the National Project Coordinator for the ACT project in Nepal. 

The workshop participants discussed the national efforts related to AMR and used an FAO questionnaire to assess the AMR activities in Nepal. For example, who has been doing AMR surveillance and at what level, the areas to be explored, coordination among the various departments to avoid duplications, ongoing or potential collaboration with academia and the research institutes, attempts between the departments to work together. It was noted that individual departments usually work independently with little national cohesiveness. 

The Ministry of Health and Population representative, Dr. Hemant Chandra Ojha, suggested including the public health sector in planning national activities that would be supported by the ACT project. There was interest from academia stakeholders in collaborating on surveillance by involving graduate and postgraduate students. This could include sample collection, knowledge, attitudes and practices research, as well as sharing data with the government.  

“Unfortunately, there is a lack of awareness on the impact of implementing Codex standards in reducing foodborne AMR. We need to discuss among various departments and plan accordingly with a One Health approach. This will help to reduce AMR and strengthen monitoring and surveillance of antimicrobial use,” said Dr. Matina Joshi Vaidya, Director General in the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC).  

The workshop helped to identify specific activities to be implemented over the next four years under the ACT project work plan. Awareness raising was identified as a priority.  Additional focus will be dedicated to training laboratory technicians and increasing the number of samples submitted for AMR testing.  In addition, the workshop participants expressed their interest in improving collaboration between different governmental agencies and other AMR stakeholders, including academia and laboratories.  

The FAO team also visited the bacteriology laboratory at the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control where approximately 40-50 AMR susceptibility tests on bacteria isolated from processed food (meat products) are conducted per month . The need for both human and institutional capacity development to strengthen diagnostic testing for AMR was identified.  

The ACTproject is supporting the implementation of Codex standards related to the containment and reduction of foodborne AMR and monitoring and surveillance of antimicrobial use and resistance. Supported by the Republic of Korea,  this project will also lead to better management of foodborne AMR in Bolivia, Cambodia, Colombia, Mongolia and Pakistan as well as Nepal. By improving access to international markets and protecting consumers against the risks posed by foodborne AMR, the project will contribute to more inclusive, safe and efficient food systems. 


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Event coverage in national media: ACT Project Launched In Nepal | New Spotlight Magazine (