The availability and use of antimicrobial medicines has transformed the practice of human and animal medicine. Infections that were once lethal are now treatable, and the use of antimicrobial drugs has advanced global health as well as animal health, which is a key component of policies to improve animal welfare, food security and food safety.
Preserving the efficacy of these life-saving medications, as well as their availability for both human and veterinary use, is therefore essential to preserve our future. The development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) compromises this dual objective and impacts our ability to successfully treat infectious diseases.
AMR refers to microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites, which have acquired resistance to antimicrobial treatment. AMR may occur naturally as organisms adapt to their environments. However, overuse and misuse of antimicrobial agents in humans, animals and plants sectors has dramatically accelerated the emergence of AMR. Consequently, minimizing the emergence and spread of AMR requires a coordinated, focused multi-sectorial and multinational effort. Animal health and welfare depend on the availability, effectiveness and appropriate use of quality veterinary medicines, including antimicrobials.
To continue to progress in disease control management and in improving animal welfare, we as international, regional, national and local animal sector leaders, need to encourage and achieve a sustainable change in behaviour so that antimicrobial use in animals closely respects the OIE international standards on responsible and prudent use. In particular, Veterinary Services including veterinarians and veterinary paraprofessionals have a key part to play in this, through our role in regulating and supervising use of antimicrobials and offering professional advice on their use to farmers and animal owners. As an organisation committed to providing animal health solutions to smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, GALVmed adheres to the spirit of the AMR Guidelines and strategy developed by OIE, and will encourage our partner organisations to adopt a similar position.