FAO introduces AMR to beat zoonotic diseases

By Patience Longwe

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has introduced an Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) initiative to enhance animal health and one health capacities, aiming to mitigate zoonotic diseases and AMR risks and threats in Malawi.

Speaking at a three-day workshop in Lilongwe, FAO’s Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) acting team leader for Malawi Sabenzi Wakesa Nabalayo emphasised that the initial strategy will play a critical role in safeguarding animal, environmental, and public health by establishing surveillance mechanisms for Antimicrobial Use (AMU) and AMR in poultry.

Dr Charles Oliver making a point

Nabalayo said the initiative will also provide valuable data to inform decision-making regarding AMU in animal health.

“The AMR landscape is constantly evolving as the 2022 end date for the initial strategy elapsed, and it’s crucial to assess its effectiveness and plan for the future,” she said.

Nabalayo added that the collaborative discussions will help achieve a revised comprehensive AMR surveillance strategy for animal health and standardize the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for data collection and analysis.

Meanwhile, Global Health Security Advisor Dr. Charles Oliver said they will ensure Malawi follows all SOPs to prevent drug resistance from occurring.