General Assembly

Importance of fighting antimicrobial resistance discussed at UN General Assembly

The fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR) must be a global effort that includes larger investments and improved surveillance measures, the FAO Deputy Director General told delegates at the General Assembly of the United Nations(UNGA) in New York.

Maria Helena Semedo, DDG of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), spoke at a side event on Antimicrobial Resistance at the UNGA. The event brings leaders from over the world together to discuss global matters.

She said good agricultural practices in the field are necessary to make progress against antimicrobial resistance.

“The use of antimicrobials in agriculture is not a substitute for insufficient hygiene and bad management practices,” she warned.

She said the threat of AMR also provides the opportunity to unite health, agricultural and environmental efforts in a collaborative, global action.
She used the example of work the FAO did in Cambodia, where one and a half year ago there was little awareness of AMR in agriculture. She said the FAO helped create awareness and greater cooperation in dealing with AMR in the country by strengthening cooperation between health and agricultural ministries, it helped to draft rules to regulate the sale of veterinary medicines and it assisted with animal health.

She said there is a need for improved mechanisms at national level to ensure the quality of pharmaceuticals, since counterfeit and substandard medicine also contributes to resistance.

Last week, the World Health Organisation warned that the world is running out of options for antibiotics. According to its report, there is a lack of research on new microbial options. The current options are all enhanced varieties of available antibiotics and can’t keep up with the pace of development of AMR.

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