The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) this week presented its national delegates with its plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance, which is considered a major risk by the international community.
Animal agriculture has often been blamed in recent years for a rise in antimicrobial resistance. The new strategy from the OIE aims to preserve the effectiveness of antimicrobials used in animal medicine, protect animal welfare, and contribute to maintaining important antimicrobials used in human medicine.
The OIE said it has worked for many years on the subject, in particular by developing dedicated international standards that were revised in 2015, and by taking part in the development of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global action plan against antimicrobial resistance.
However, the organisation said these plans must be properly implemented in order to work. In an OIE study, 110 of the 130 countries questioned lacked comprehensive legislation on veterinary medicines, meaning that antimicrobials could be freely bought and sold without supervision.
The new strategy, unveiled by the OIE at its 84th General Session, sets out how the organisation will help nations to develop better legal frameworks to preserve antibiotics, as well as helping them communicate the problem, train animal health workers, and monitor antibiotic use.
The creation and management of a database to gather information on the use of antimicrobial agents in animals, as well as the development of performance indicators, is also under way to assist countries towards increased information flow and transparency in their use of antimicrobials.
Meanwhile, the network of OIE experts will be working to reinforce scientific knowledge, especially on new technologies and replacement solutions for current antimicrobial agents.