Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an emerging public health threat requiring a globally coordinated effort to counter the risks it poses to food security, FAO Deputy Director-General Helena Semedo said Wednesday.
Aside from the human health considerations, the emergence of microbes resistant to antibiotics and other pharmaceutical agents puts animal health at risk and consequently has an impact on rural livelihoods and food security. "AMR is a global threat that in this inter-connected world cannot be solved in Europe alone," Semedo said.
AMR solution needed to assure food security
To help combat AMR and deliver on its core strategic objectives - eradication of hunger and rural poverty, sustainable agriculture and more resilient livelihoods - FAO is engaged on multiple fronts.It works closely with the World Health Organization and the World Organisation for Animal Health as well as on the global level through the food safety guidelines of the Codex Alimentarius and through targeted field programs in dozens of countries on all continents.
While applauding Europe's interest in the cause and hailing the Netherlands in particular for its slashing the amount of drugs used in its prosperous livestock sector by almost 60 percent in recent years, "the real challenge for us is to translate such efforts to countries in need with poor resources," Semedo noted. "The risk of AMR appears to be particularly high in countries where legislation, surveillance, prevention and monitoring of AMR are weak or inadequate."
Given today's fast travel, a AMR organism in one country could in a few hours be within another, underscoring the benefits to be had from all countries investing in increasing awareness on AMR, strengthening their veterinary and public health systems, and improving hygiene along the food production chain to assure safe markets.
Considering that seven out of every 10 newly discovered human diseases are of animal origin, Semedo underscored the centrality of farming practices and food systems in the effort to contain AMR, bolstering FAO's commitment to the "One-Health" approach that comprises human, animal and environmental wellness.
Wednesday 10 February, 2016/ FAO.