FAO broadens reach of antimicrobial resistance plan

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has announced it is to address the issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in five more countries, as the result of a US$3.3 million funding commitment from Russia.

FAO project TCP/BYE/3401: Emergency assistance to control the African Swine Fever outbreak in Belarus. Objectives : to assist the veterinary services of Belarus to timely and effectively respond to ASF introduction, rapidly and efficiently control
Sergei Gapon | FAO

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has announced it is to address the issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in five more countries, as the result of a US$3.3 million funding commitment from Russia.

Joint efforts by the FAO and Russia aim to improve food safety, and to control the spread on farms and in foods of so-called “superbugs” that threaten human health.

Countries at the center of the new activity are Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. The action will focus on helping these nations tackle AMR by building up the necessary regulatory framework, surveillance system capacity, and raising awareness of stakeholders throughout the food chain on managing the risks presented by AMR.

This latest development in the global effort to tackle antibiotic resistance follows a commitment by the General Assembly of the United Nations to undertake collective efforts to address the challenges posed by AMR to health, food security and development in September of 2016.

Following this agreement came the publication of The FAO Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance 2016-2020. The Plan outlines four key priorities, which include raising awareness of the issue of AMR, developing capacity for surveillance and monitoring of AMR and antimicrobial use in food production, strengthening governance of AMR use, and promoting the prudent use of AMRs in agriculture.

At an event to mark the announcement of the joint effort between the FAO and Russia, FAO’s Director-General José Graziano da Silva thanked Anna Popova, head of Russia’s Federal Service for Surveillance and Consumer Rights Protection, for her country’s contribution as the first major donor to support work to tackle AMR in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Next month, the International Conference on Food Safety and Risk Analysis will be held in the Russian city of Sochi. Bringing together participants from government, business and science, the conference offers a first opportunity for specialists in the region to exchange information on nutrition and food safety issues impacting AMR.

According to the FAO, the rise in pathogens resistant to the medications that were once effective to treat them is due to the increased use, misuse and abuse of antibiotics in human and veterinary medicine. AMR poses significant risks to health in hospitals, and throughout the food chain.

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