Work underway to address antimicrobial resistance Thursday, 27 April 2017

Source: Beehive, 27 April 2017

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Food Safety Minister David Bennett have welcomed steps to enhance New Zealand's ability to respond to the growing global issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

"Like other countries, New Zealand has seen a rise in antibiotic resistant infections and it is important that we develop a clear plan to reduce AMR," says Dr Coleman.

"Antimicrobial resistance occurs when microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses change in ways that render the medications used to cure the infections they cause ineffective.

"While resistance develops naturally, a range of initiatives from everyday tasks such as hand hygiene through to education, surveillance, and restrictions on prescriptions and the use of antibiotics and antimicrobials will help prevent resistance."

As part of a global response the Ministries of Health and Primary Industries have today jointly published 'Antimicrobial Resistance: New Zealand's current situation and identified areas for action' to respond to the changing pattern of antimicrobial resistance in New Zealand.

The report highlights five key objectives which include improved awareness, understanding, as well as prevention and control measures. The report also highlighted the need for better data about antibiotic consumption in New Zealand.

"As well as the health dimension, AMR is also a well-recognised threat to veterinary and agricultural practice," says Mr Bennett.

"Animal products generate around $24 billion per year in exports, so this is a risk that our country must take seriously. It's why these two ministries formed an AMR Action Planning Group which produced this situation report.

"The report builds on work already undertaken by MPI and the Ministry of Health to help manage the risks associated with AMR.

"Tackling AMR requires a one-team approach from a diverse group of experts. It includes scientists, veterinarians, infectious disease experts, microbiologists, GPs and specialist nurses."

The report is available on the Ministry of Health website,


The Antimicrobial Resistance has five key objectives:

  1. Improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance.
  2. Strengthen the knowledge and evidence base about AMR through research and surveillance.
  3. Improve infection prevention and control measures across human health and animal care settings to prevent infection and the transmission of micro-organisms
  4. Optimise the use of antimicrobial medicines in human, animal and plant health.
  5. Establish and support clear governance, collaboration and investment arrangements so that the approach to tackling AMR is sustainable.