UN agency launches action plan to tackle threat of 'superbugs'
Sept.15, Geneva: The United Nations agricultural agency released a new action plan to help countries combat the spread of antimicrobial resistance in their food supply chains and to counter the growing threat of medicine-resistant ‘superbugs.’
“Antimicrobial medicines play a critical role in the treatment of diseases of farm animals and plants. Their use is essential to food security, to our well-being, and to animal welfare,” said the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) in a news release.
“However, the misuse of these drugs, associated with the emergence and spread of antimicrobial-resistant micro-organisms, places everyone at great risk,” it added.
According to the agency, its Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance will focus on improving awareness of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) issues among farmers, veterinary professionals, authorities, policymakers and food consumers.
The Plan will also focus building national capacities for surveillance and monitoring of AMR and antimicrobial use (AMU) in food and agriculture, strengthen governance related to AMU and AMR in food and agriculture, and promote good practices and the prudent use of antimicrobials in these systems.
Globally, the use of antimicrobial substances has grown steadily over the past 50 years as animal and fish farmers increasing use these medicines are used to treat diseases, or to prevent them from spreading further. In some cases – albeit to a lesser degree – antimicrobial substances are spread on plant crops.
Additionally, antimicrobials are added in low concentrations to animal feed as a way to stimulate growth – a practice that is increasingly discouraged but still relatively common.
The Oslo Times International News Network