Norway takes the lead on antibiotic resistance

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The Norwegian government has set clear goals nationally, and wants to take a leading role in reducing the use of antibiotics globally. It must be done in a one health multi sectorial approach. This was the main message when the Norwegian government gathered some of the world's top experts in a meeting on antimicrobial resistance in Ålesund, Norway.

EU commissioner on Health and Food Safety, Vyentis Andriukaitis, presented highlights from the EU 'One health' action plan on AMR (antimicrobial resistance) launching June 29. The plan has three pillars:

  • making the EU a best practice region on AMR
  • boosting research and innovation on AMR
  • shaping the global agenda on AMR

Speaking at the conference Commissioner said 'the new Action Plan will serve as the vehicle throughout which the EU will contribute towards the implementation of global commitments'.

Chief Medical Officer in the UK, Professor Dame Sally Davies gave an update on the work of the UN. A lot of good work has been done, but needs to continue. The global community must ensure sufficient and coordinated funding, and the member states must develop national action plans.

Antimicrobial resistance is a serious threat for human and animal health in the whole world. It has to be met globally and cross-sectorally.

Norway shall have a clear voice in the world and among the Nordic countries. In order to succeed, international organizations, national governments, private sector, NGOs and the population have to work together and each and every one have to take their share of our common responsibility, states the Norwegian Minister of Health and Care Services, Bent Høie.

Reducing the use of antibiotics on humans by 30 percent by 2020

The Norwegian government has set ambitious goals to reduce the use of antibiotics on humans by 30 percent by 2020. By comparison, between 2012 and 2016 the use of antibiotics in humans in Norway decreased by 13 percent.

-This is a good start, but it is not good enough. The good work must continue and it must accelerate. Starting a job is easy, finishing it is the challenge, states the Norwegian Minister of Health and Care Services, Bent Høie.

Norway's goal is that antimicrobial resistance does not get a foothold in the Norwegian livestock. The use of antibiotics in the Norwegian livestock and fisheries is low. The government will further work to reduce the use of antibiotics in food producing terrestrial animals by at least 10 percent and in pets by at least 30 percent.

Between 2013 and 2015 the use of antibiotics in food producing terrestrial animals decreased by two percent, according to objectives.

- It is a clear connection between high consumption of antibiotics and the growth of resistance. For example, Germany is using 50 times more antibiotics per kilogram meat than Norway, and some countries in South-Europe uses 100-times more, says the Minister of agriculture and food, Jon Georg Dale.  

– Though the situation in the Nordic countries is better than in most of the world, it is important that we work together and contribute in the ongoing processes, says Dale.

Thanks to the development of efficient vaccines, there are hardly no use of antibiotics in the Norwegian fish farming industry.

-Since we have managed to reduce the use of antibiotics in our fish farms, it can be done elsewhere as well. Fish farming is a strong growing industry globally, and it will be increasingly important in feeding the world population in the coming years. Our experience is valuable, says the Norwegian Minister of Fisheries, Per Sandberg.

At the conference, Secretary General Anne Lise Ryel in the Norwegian Cancer Society, presented their global initiative to mobilize other cancer societies worldwide, to join the fight against antimicrobial resistance. This is the first time such an initiative has been taken by a patient association.