AMR – Setting the Agenda for Change
33,000 European patients die directly from the consequences of AMR. Nevertheless, what makes the news headlines is usually acute threats, such as coronavirus, or other diseases/infections. The last antimicrobial was discovered in 1984 and many bacteria have no specific or effective antibiotics to treat them with.
19 February saw the official launch of a new MEP Interest Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (https://epha.org/amr-interest-group/) involving 15 MEPs from various political groups. These MEPs support the AMR Stakeholder Network, which comprises over 80 leading organisations (including ESICM) and individuals and is coordinated by the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA).
The event was co-hosted by Sarah Wiener, MEP (Greens/EFA, Austria), Tiemo Wölken, MEP (S&D, Germany) and Nicolae Ştefănuţă, MEP (Renew Europe, Romania). It was co-organised by the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) and Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) Europe and held at the European Parliament (Brussels).
The AMR Stakeholder Network had previously launched a Roadmap for action on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR): https://epha.org/roadmap-for-action-on-antimicrobial-resistance-amr/
Five key strategies and targets have been set to tackle AMR:
- Target and performance indicators
- Help countries mobilise resources for better implementation of national AMR policies
- Close the existing collaboration gap between civil society and EU policy-makers
- Put prevention at the heart of AMR policy-making
- Tackle the environmental dimension of AMR in the framework of the European Green Deal
The aim of the interest group is to tackle the issue of AMR using a cross-sectional multidisciplinary approach based on the “One Health“ approach, i.e. integrating human and animal health, as well as environmental perspectives (such as pharmaceutical waste).
The European Commission has highlighted the political will to increase work on AMR and to increase available funding. The FAO/OIE/WHO, along with scientific experts, have emphasised the need to better use the funding, to focus on research with an impact on health and to decrease the threat of AMR.
It was suggested at yesterday’s meeting that focusing on vaccination, antibiotics stewardship teams, diagnostics, decreasing over-prescription or over-use of antibiotics should be priority. It was also mentioned that AMR is a cross-border issue and should involve collaboration between experts and also between countries, on a global level.
A patient testimony from Romania emphasised the lack of knowledge and the need to raise public awareness, describing the near fatal consequences of AMR for the patient and the over-prescription of antibiotics. After, surviving a fire hazard, the patient had almost died from AMR and sepsis.
For more information about the AMR Stakeholder Network, visit https://epha.org/amr-stakeholder-network/