Antimicrobial resistance is now a “leading cause” of deaths worldwide, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has warned.
The Minister said that raising “awareness of the risks” posed by antimicrobial resistance is “crucial to driving behavioural change in how antimicrobials are prescribed and used”.
He made the comments while launching a new logo to improve awareness and understanding of what he described as the “serious global ‘One Health’ challenge of antimicrobial resistance”.
‘One Health’ is a worldwide strategy to improve interdisciplinary collaborations in all aspects of health care for humans, animals and the environment.
Antimicrobial resistance is resistance of a microorganism to a drug that was originally effective for treatment of infections caused by that microorganism.
For example, in agriculture, antimicrobial resistance can arise due to the overuse or misuse of antibiotics in the treatment of livestock. The implications can be seen in human health, as similar or the same antibiotics are often used for treatment.
The new logo, and the Minister’s focus on antimicrobial resistance, come as part of European Antibiotic Awareness Day 2022.
The event is held in partnership with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (18-24 November 2022).
“Ireland continues to adopt a One Health approach to addressing one of our greatest One Health challenges – antimicrobial resistance.
"Our second national action plan to address antimicrobial resistance, iNAP2, recognises the synergy between human, animal, plant and environmental health and our interdependence for mutual health and well-being.
“Many of the animal health actions under iNAP2 relate to improving animal health and preventing disease, recognising that these are key steps to reduce the use of antibiotics and effectively tackle antibiotic resistance,” he said.
Minister McConalogue highlighted that “sustained optimal animal health is critical to the future profitability and sustainability of our farming and processing industries, and to the protection of public health and of our shared environment”.
Through iNAP2, the Minister said that animal health sector stakeholders continue to show “leadership and work collaboratively” to deliver actions which promote optimal animal health and food security in a sustainable way.
He said this is in line with Food Vision 2030 and the Government’s Climate Action Plan.
Minister McConalogue said that improving the knowledge and awareness of the antimicrobial resistance acronym AMR among all One Health stakeholders is “vitally important”.
He said the acronym should be “identifiable and understood by all stakeholders, as more and more information and knowledge about AMR is published and relayed across all three one health sectors at a national, European and global level”.
“The overall aim of the new logo is the creation of a simple, clear, impactful, relatable brand that improves knowledge and awareness of AMR in the One Health context and which can be used successfully by any of the One Health sectors to promote the AMR-relevant messages,” he said.
The Irish Farmers Journal has queried the Department of Agriculture on where the new AMR logo will be used and how farmers might see it.