Hungary equipped to tackle antimicrobial resistance by using the best available evidence

Prompting action through evidence

A new evidence brief for policy (EBP) assists Hungary in addressing the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the country. Building on global and local scientific evidence, the EBP proposes 3 policy options to address the drivers of AMR in human medicine in Hungary:

  1. developing a national antibiotic stewardship programme;
  2. strengthening university education and training on the prudent use of antibiotics; and
  3. raising awareness of prudent antibiotic use.

The EBP was developed with the support of the Evidence-informed Policy Network (EVIPNet) Europe, and in collaboration with the programme on control of antimicrobial resistance in the Division of Health Emergencies and Communicable Diseases at WHO/Europe and the WHO Country Office in Hungary.

Dr Claudia Stein, Director of the Division of Information, Evidence, Research and Innovation at WHO/Europe, emphasized that EBPs are “key instruments for the translation of evidence into policy – in fact, nothing can quite replace them, not only because they summarize all relevant evidence for the right audience but also because they are the result of intensive teamwork by all stakeholders. Nothing quite ticks the boxes in knowledge translation like EBPs.”

AMR in Hungary

While antibiotic consumption in Hungary is not excessive compared to other countries in the WHO European Region, data suggest that these medicines are frequently prescribed either unnecessarily or suboptimally in Hungary.

This puts individual patients at avoidable risk of adverse effects, and increases the spread of resistant pathogens within Hungary and abroad. Rising health-care costs and worsening health outcomes are the consequence.

Progress through intersectoral cooperation – the development of the EBP

“The development of the EBP on AMR in Hungary was a process whose achievements are 2-fold,” said Dr Ledia Lazeri, WHO Representative to Hungary. “The first achievement regards the final product with 3 policy options that were submitted to the senior health leadership and that pave the way for continued policy action in addressing the AMR challenge in Hungary.”

The second and equally important achievement, she explained, “regards the consultation process among the stakeholders. Health-care professionals from various disciplines were largely consulted and their voices were reflected in the final product. All in all, the process was rather empowering for the field professionals who felt their first-hand experience with AMR challenges in the field was validated and acknowledged in the course of the policy-making. An encouraging development, to be continued!”

The Hungarian Ministry of Human Capacities commissioned the EBP, which was authored by Hungarian policy-makers, public health experts and academic researchers.

About EVIPNet Europe

Launched in the WHO European Region in October 2012, EVIPNet Europe is a regional WHO initiative that promotes the systematic and transparent use of evidence from health research in policy-making. EVIPNet Europe, operating under the aegis of the WHO European Health Information Initiative, is hosted by the Knowledge Management, Evidence and Research for Policy-Making Unit in the Division of Information, Evidence, Research and Innovation at WHO/Europe.