Feedback from the AFMA-SAAHA workshop on antimicrobial resistance

During the last week in April, the Animal Feed Manufacturers Association (AFMA) and South Africa Animal Health Association (SAAHA) hosted a joint workshop to discuss antimicrobial resistance (AMR) with the aim of collaborating to address the critical need for coherence and clarity in antimicrobial programmes for control and surveillance across the various industry sectors.

Invitees included livestock organisations, academia, and regulators. It was apparent that livestock industries are addressing management of AMR in various ways, including surveillance and on-farm protocols to ensure the judicious use of antimicrobials.

There are differences between countries as to the regulation and management of antibiotic usage, especially in prophylactic and metaphylactic use in animals. A further complication identified is how to report on usage, as volumes used in a particular species do not necessarily result in an increased AMR risk. A balance needs to be achieved in ensuring that medicines critical for humans are preserved (as far as possible) for their benefit.

Some data was shared around the effect of the ban on antimicrobial growth promoters (AGP) in the European Union. A reduction in AGP use resulted in increased therapeutic use but did not increase the incidence of AMR. This does not mean, though, that antimicrobial usage should not be reduced and/or managed.

The positive outcome of the workshop is that communication and collaboration were the winners.