Fight back

Escherichia coli, some types of which cause human disease, and increasingly are resistant to drugs Image: public domain
10 November 2016

The Australian Government has announced a plan to implementing the National Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Strategy 2015-19, released in June last year.

Funded with $9.4 million in the 2015-16 federal budget, the initiative responds to the global threat of resistance to antimicrobials. Thus, a recent AMR review estimates that by 2050, 10 million lives would be at risk each year if there is no slow down in the trend towards resistance.

Central to the strategy is a One Health approach across all sectors in which antimicrobials are used: human health, animals health, food and agriculture. It is also aligned with the World Health Organisation's Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance.

There are seven main objectives in the strategy that comprise a framework for the targeted actions detailed in the implementation plan. The objectives inlude:

Use of antimicrobials in the communities of Australia and similar countries
Graph from National Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Strategy 2015-19 published under CC BY 3.0)

One of the key activities is the National Antimicrobial Use and Resistance Australia (AURA) Surveillance System for human health. It coordinates data from a range of sources and allows analysis and reporting of AMR and antibiotic usage at a national level. AURA's first report was released in June this year and provides a baseline for future reports.

At present, Australia's use across the community is high by international standards. The AURA 2016 report finds that against five selected northern European countries and Canada, Australia had the highest reported daily dose of antimicrobials per inhabitant.

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