BVA welcomes One Health emphasis in Northern Ireland’s new AMR action plan

Northern Ireland’s new five-year action plan on antimicrobial resistance identifies a need for collaborative, cross-sector working

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has welcomed Northern Ireland’s One Health approach towards fighting antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in its new five-year action plan, launched today (16 May).

The action plan, titled ‘Changing the Culture 2019-2024: One Health’, has been prepared by the Northern Ireland Department of Health, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), and the Food Standards Agency and was launched together by Chief Veterinary Officer Robert Huey, Chief Medical Officer Michael McBride, and FSA Director in Northern Ireland, Maria Jennings.

The action plan encourages the responsible use of antimicrobials through preventive measures such as improved hygiene, effective vaccination and biosecurity, stronger laboratory capacity and disease surveillance, and investment in innovative therapies and rapid diagnostics.

BVA Northern Ireland Branch President Aurelie Moralis said:

“We are pleased that Northern Ireland’s new five-year action plan on antimicrobial resistance identifies a need for collaborative, cross-sector working as crucial to tackling this serious global threat. BVA’s updated position on AMR, released last week, similarly calls for a One Health approach without a culture of blame as key to preserving these vital medicines for humans and animals.

“We welcome the action plan’s emphasis on preventive measures and a commitment to supporting the development of innovative therapies and strengthening the links between research, policy and professional practice.

“BVA is committed to providing continued leadership on the issue. Vets in government and private practice in Northern Ireland have already made huge strides in stewarding responsible antimicrobial use. We now look forward to seeing all government departments embedding this One Health approach, and working in partnership with stakeholders in industry and the veterinary profession to further achieve the goals laid down in this five-year vision.”

BVA’s updated position on responsible antimicrobial use in food producing animals consolidates and expands upon its existing antimicrobial resistance policies. It proposes 15 overarching recommendations on responsible antimicrobial stewardship for vets, farmers and government. These recommendations come amid an increasing global push for One Health working to protect antimicrobials for the sake of animal and human health, reflected both in the UK government’s 20-year vision and new five-year national action plan and the recent UN Interagency Coordinating Group report.