Action plan to fight antimicrobial resistance Monday, 7 August 2017

Source: Beehive, 7 August 2017

Health Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman and Food Safety Minister David Bennett today launched the finalised New Zealand action plan to address the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

"Scientists, governments and international agencies are united in the approach to combat the rise of antimicrobial resistance," says Dr Coleman.

"The New Zealand Antimicrobial Resistance Action Plan, released today, will underpin our efforts to ensure that antimicrobials are managed carefully.

"The action plan was finalised following its presentation at the 70th World Health Assembly in Geneva and is ready for implementation in New Zealand.

"The five key objectives in the plan align with international efforts and ensure that New Zealand is playing its part in the global response.

"We want medicines to remain effective for treating infections in humans, as well as managing diseases in animals and plants."

"The Ministry of Health and Ministry for Primary Industries have worked together on this action plan because resistant microbes arising in humans, animals or the environment impact each other," says Mr Bennett.

"As a major food producer, New Zealand must manage antimicrobial resistance in animals and plants effectively.

"This action plan shows that New Zealand understands the multisectoral issue of antimicrobial resistance and is addressing it in line with the recommendations of the World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization and World Organisation for Animal Health."

A range of strategies will be used over the next five years to manage the threat of antimicrobial resistance. Implementation of the plan will involve a wide range of partners and will be jointly governed by the Ministry of Health and Ministry for Primary Industries.

The plan is focussed on surveillance and monitoring activities, as well as regulatory oversight of the use of antimicrobials in animals and plants. It will also look to improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance and improve infection prevention and control.

Notes to editors:

The action plan has five key objectives; in alignment with the World Health Organization global response:

  1. Awareness and understanding: Improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance through effective communication, education and training.
  2. Surveillance and research: Strengthen the knowledge and evidence base about antimicrobial resistance through surveillance and research.
  3. Infection prevention and control: Improve infection prevention and control measures across human health and animal care settings to prevent infection and the transmission of micro-organisms.
  4. Antimicrobial stewardship: Optimise the use of antimicrobial medicines in human health, animal health and agriculture, including by maintaining and enhancing the regulation of animal and agriculture antimicrobials.
  5. Governance, collaboration and investment: Establish and support clear governance, collaboration and investment arrangements for a sustainable approach to countering antimicrobial resistance.

Antimicrobial resistance is where microorganisms that cause infections in humans, animals and plants become resistant to antibiotic, antiviral, anti-parasitic and antifungal medications.

A key risk from increased antimicrobial resistance is that people will needlessly die from infections and diseases that we are currently able to treat with medications.