Health, environment and agriculture sectors must tackle antibiotic resistance together

WHO/Paul Garwood

Health ministers and senior officials from 20 countries around the world called for intensified political action to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which threatens the prevention and treatment of more and more infections.

“Antibiotic resistance can spread, not only from human to human but also through the food chain and the environment. Thus, tackling it requires multifaceted approaches. Intersectoral and interdisciplinary collaboration and information sharing are crucial,” said Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe.

Health and agriculture ministers issued a joint statement that highlighted the links between antimicrobial use in animals and the threat of AMR in humans and animals, and the need to tackle all sources of AMR. The statement, which strongly supports the development of a global action plan on AMR, as called for by the 2014 World Health Assembly, is the culmination of discussions at a conference organized by the Netherlands Government, co-sponsored by WHO and held in The Hague on 25–26 June 2014.

Explaining that the WHO European Region leads the way in addressing the problem, the Regional Director said that the Region’s action plan on AMR, adopted by European Member States in 2011, takes a “one health” approach: promoting the surveillance, prevention and control of AMR in the food chain as well as in the health sector.