FVE Seminar Conclusions: “Antimicrobials: a true One-Health issue”

(24.11.2011) Challenges and opportunities in the medical and veterinary field

“Appropriate use of antimicrobials is the key to mitigating the risk of antimicrobial resistance”, FVE President Dr. Christophe Buhot emphasized at the conference the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe organised, on the occasion of the European Antibiotic Awareness Day 2011.

The event attracted more than 300 people from over 40 countries; European Institutions, National Authorities, Veterinary Associations, scientists and many other stakeholders as well. This large number of participants underlined the enormous interest our society takes in health: the health of people, as well as the health of animals, which are so closely related. Antimicrobial resistance is a “Global - One Health” issue; this is what unambiguously came out of the discussion.

Although there are big differences between countries, mainly related to the current use of antimicrobials, antimicrobial resistance exists everywhere and always. It travels fast, does not respect borders and compromises the health and welfare of people and animals.

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing problem, so we cannot afford to wait. In order to achieve a clear result, it is important to make sure that we can measure and define the problem and accordingly set clear targets for its control.

For this purpose, data collection is essential and all partners must contribute. Further research into the mechanisms of the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance is necessary. Additionally, research and development of new substances need to be enhanced, both for medical and for veterinary purposes.

At the moment, what we already do know is that appropriate use of antimicrobials is pivotal. The veterinary profession wishes to work together with other stakeholders, to bring a part of the solution, through actions such as

a) Implementation of good farming practices and development of herd health plans, based on biosecurity measures and vaccination programmes and under the close collaboration of veterinarians and farmers.

b) More emphasis on the veterinary prescription

c) Development of guidelines, protocols and formularia

d) Development of alternatives

e) No incentives on buying / selling large quantities of antimicrobials

f) Raising awareness, education and training

g) Stricter conditions, and clear justification for the use of critically important antibiotics and of off label use, including the cascade

It should be clearly explained to consumers and politicians that good health and safe food have a price. Funding and support for taking the necessary actions is an investment in our future.

Antimicrobial resistance is a great challenge to all of us and gives us the opportunity to show how much we care. “Veterinarians care for animals and people” is the main message of the FVE’s strategy for 2011-2015. That represents exactly the high degree of veterinarians’ dedication and commitment to the society, the animals and our common environment.



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