The annual World Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Week took place this year between 18th – 24th November 2023, in Harare, Zimbabwe. High-level delegations from AU-IBAR, Africa CDC, and the Quadripartite agencies (WHO, WOAH, FAO, and UNEP) convened to address the escalating global challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). The overarching theme was Antimicrobials: Handle with Care while the global theme was Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance together. This year’s continental theme was Accelerating Progress in African Countries in the implementation of AMR National Action Plans.’
As Africa joins global efforts to combat AMR, collaborative awareness campaigns are crucial in empowering communities, healthcare providers, veterinarians, and livestock keepers. Preventive measures such as infection control, biosecurity, and improving animal husbandry practices are emphasized. Global collaboration is essential to combat the pervasive threat of AMR and mitigate its global impact.
The event whose aim is to foster collaboration and awareness on AMR in the continent had a comprehensive agenda for the week that featured a Media sensitization meeting and Press Conference at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC), led by WOAH, Africa CDC, AU-IBAR, WOAH, WHO, FAO, UNEP, Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) and The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development (MLAFWRD).
During the Week, AU-IBAR with partners facilitated the following events:
Media Sensitization Meeting and Press Conferences
Universities World café/debate on AMR/AMU (Anti-Microbial Use) Sessions
AMR Awareness Mini Football Tournament AMR Engagement (High School Students)
High-level opening sessions from Directors of the organisation
Policy Dialogues on Accelerating progress in African Countries in the implementation of AMR National Action Plans
Africa Universities World café/debate on AMR/AMU
High Level Panel Discussion on AMR Environmental Dimensions
A twitter chat whose theme was: Communities: A Game Changer for AMR.
Field visits to farmer poultry schools, and laboratory visits
These events emphasized a multifaceted approach to address antimicrobial resistance. The culminating day featured an AMR Awareness Walkathon at Africa Unity Square and a closing session involving AU-Agencies, the Quadripartite, the Government of Zimbabwe, and University Students.
The African Union Commission oversees Antimicrobial Resistance efforts through the AU Task Force for AMR Control, coordinated by AU-IBAR and Africa CDC which have further collaborated to monitor AMR situations which saw the launch of the Africa Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Network (AMRSNET), and that implements measures against AMR in AU member states.
The African Union Commission oversees Antimicrobial Resistance efforts through the AU Task Force for AMR Control, jointly coordinated by AU-IBAR and Africa CDC, which collectively serve as the Task Force Secretariat.
During the event, a key focus for the African Union was advocacy for equitable financing towards tackling Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in Africa. Across various African nations and sectors, significant disparities exist in funding for AMR initiatives, highlighting the imperative for joint efforts to ensure fair and equitable financing for AMR-related interventions. It is crucial that the fight against AMR becomes a collective endeavour, with resources allocated in a manner that ensures that no country nor sector is left behind.
AU-IBAR and Africa CDC have collaborated to:
Coordinate the monitoring of AMR situation in Africa and functioning of the AU Task Force for AMR control.
Launch the Africa Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Network (AMRSNET). The network aims to foster collaborative efforts and exchange experiences in addressing the AMR crisis in Africa.
AU-IBAR is actively collaborating with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA-FAS) and African institutions to implement measures against AMR in AU member states. This includes
Specialized trainings on surveillance for high-priority livestock commodities such as beef, milk and poultry. The trainings aim to enhance testing capacities, expand monitoring of priority AMR organisms, and establish a robust surveillance system to comprehensively understand the global AMR threat.
Training on Antimicrobial stewardship amongst livestock keepers and animal health professionals
Generating evidence generation to guide focused capacity building in the animal sector.
AU-IBAR has collaborated with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA-FAS) to focuses on specialized training, antimicrobial stewardship, and evidence generation in the animal sector. Africa CDC, through the “Mapping Antimicrobial Resistance and Antimicrobial Use Partnership” (MAAP), collects regional AMR data and builds capacity for African countries.
Africa CDC in collaboration with partners led the “Mapping Antimicrobial Resistance and Antimicrobial Use Partnership” (MAAP), a multicountry and multiyear was launched in 2019 to build capacity for African countries to measure their own AMR and antimicrobial use (AMU) status producing the first large scale regional AMR data from Africa. Under this initiative supported by Fleming Fund, a retrospective three years AMR and antimicrobial use data was collected from 205 laboratories and 327 hospitals across 14 AU Member States. The published data is providing the baseline for countries to develop policies, drive domestic financing and track impact of interventions.
Ministers of health, Environment, Climate and Wildlife, Land, Agriculture, Water and Rural Development, Directors of organisations and ambassadors from various countries attended the event.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The African Union – Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR).
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