New WHO report highlights collaborative action to reduce antimicrobial resistance

Strategic framework designed by the four organisations to advance a One Health response to AMR  

By Gauri Arora
Published: Tuesday 12 April 2022

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) poses a major global threat to humans, animals, plants, food and the environment. This indicates the requirement of a One Health approach to effectively address the issue. 

The strategic framework published in a report April 6, 2022 to advance a One Health response to AMR at the global, regional and country levels is a joint effort by the World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

The goal of the strategic framework is to preserve antimicrobial efficacy and ensure sustainable and equitable access to antimicrobials for responsible and prudent use in human, animal and plant health, contributing to achieving the UN-mandated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

To achieve this goal, the objectives, mentioned in the framework are:

Optimize the production and use of antimicrobials along the whole life cycle — from research and development to disposal — and decrease the incidence of infection in humans, animals and plants to reduce the development and spread of AMR. 

The overall impact to which the four organisations aim to contribute through their collaboration is for countries to have the capacity to design and sustainably implement evidence-informed One Health responses to AMR. 

Ther report defined three outcomes countries should have in place:

Policy and law support effective country-owned One Health AMR responses: Recognise AMR as a priority in the broader development agenda, acknowledging the need for capacity building to strengthen AMR-specific legislation, policy coherence and sector-specific research. 

Systems and structures, including institutional capacities, are in place to support effective implementation of country-owned One Health AMR responses: National Action Plans on AMR and guidelines to be regularly updated including monitoring and surveillance of AMR and antimicrobial use (AMU). Access to good quality antimicrobials strengthened for all sectors. 

Increased, sustained resourcing is in place for country-owned One Health AMR responses: Priority actions from national action plans on AMR mainstreamed into national plans and budgets. 

The report also focuses on two intermediate outcomes that it considers interim steps, necessary for the achievement of the longer-term outcomes described above.

The first intermediate outcome relates to the support provided at country level, while the second is focused on the tripartite (WHO, OIE and FAO) and UNEP action at global and regional levels in support of countries’ efforts.

According to the report, these organisations work to achieve intermediate outcomes through the following mentioned outputs:

  1. The capacity and knowledge of countries are strengthened to prioritise and implement context-specific collaborative One Health approaches to control AMR in policies, legislation and practice
  2. Global and regional initiatives and programmes influence and support One Health responses to AMR and global governance structures established, resourced and function effectively. 

The strategic framework in this report broadly supports the implementation of the five pillars of the Global Action Plan on AMR, as well as strengthening global AMR governance. 

The collaboration of the four organisations on AMR is new, although they have worked together in other technical areas.

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