Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been described as one of the biggest threats to public health - a worrisome development since resistance to drugs designed to treat severe diseases is becoming more widespread. EPHA’s briefing describes the causes of AMR; evaluates what is being done at an EU and international level; and explores some of challenges faced today by public health.
The increasing spread of AMR coupled with ineffective policies to counteract it, poses a serious health threat to the public. This has been recognised by the World Health Organization and the European Commission. AMR was the focus of the 2011 World Health Day - Antibiotic Awareness Day. The Danish Presidency rightly identified it as one of its priority areas that only a multifaceted approach could help resolve.
At an EU and international level, EPHA supports the measures designed to reduce or control the growth of AMR, including the steps contained in the European Commission’s Action Plan of November 2011, and the surveillance work undertaken by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
The key challenges featured at the briefing are:
Promoting an appropriate and prudent use of antibiotics in humans and livestock;
using a combination therapies;
increasing hygiene in hospitals and in food production;
innovating and developing new antimicrobials and vaccines;
enhanced and better-targeted communication, education and training efforts;
a closer international cooperation; and
the monitoring and evaluation of actions taken.
The key is preventing infections from being quickly transmitted via family members, colleagues, etc., what potentially threatens entire communities. With that goal in mind, antibiotic use needs to be urgently reduced. This requires increased stakeholder sensitization and behavioural change, for instance, following the below practices:
A better infection control in healthcare;
improving health literacy;
promoting other forms of therapies;
reduction of AMR in livestock breeding and food production.
In addition to continue monitoring this matter, in the upcoming months EPHA will develop a position on AMR, what will include a range of policy recommendations. Moreover, EPHA supports the work of the European Public Health and Agriculture Consortium (EPHAC) in this area.
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