The Deputy Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Maria Helena Semedo, has said that a stronger global effort, including larger investments and improved surveillance measures, is required to ensure that antimicrobials are used responsibly and in ways that do not threaten public health and food production, reports NaijaAgroNet.
Speaking at a United Nations General Assembly side event on Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR), Semedo said that good health, good productivity and good economies depend on safe and nutritious food.
“Prudent use of antimicrobials in public health and agriculture is essential to achieve this," she said, stressing that globally there is a need for surveillance on antimicrobial use and the spread of AMR; not only through hospitals, but throughout the food chain, including horticulture and the environment for more comprehensive risk assessments.
She said, the world needs to stave off the risk of having less efficient medicines to treat deadly infections due to the fact that more bacteria are becoming immune to antimicrobials.
“But this challenge posed by AMR is also "an opportunity to unite health, agriculture and environmental concerns in collaborative global action," Semedo said and cited FAO's experience in Cambodia.
Further, she said, one and one-half years ago in Cambodia, there was little awareness of AMR in agriculture.
“There was little surveillance and few links with human health officials. By strengthening collaboration between health and agriculture ministries; helping draft rules to regulate the sale of veterinary medicines; and assisting animal health labs - we helped increase awareness and greater cooperation in dealing with AMR," she said.
Semedo noted how Cambodia is now sharing its experience with neighbouring countries and how FAO has experienced similar successes in Ghana, Kenya, Thailand, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, Latin America and Central Asia.
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