Animal Sub-sector Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

Arming Stakeholders Against AMR in Uganda

What is Antimicrobial Resistance?

Antimicrobial Resistance is a trend whereby micro-organisms such as bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites change and resist when exposed to antimicrobial drugs.

Antimicrobial drugs/antimicrobials are medicines used to treat infections caused by the microorganisms listed above.

Antimicrobial drugs are essential to both human and animal health, but in recent years, some bacteria have demonstrated full or partial resistance to various antimicrobial agents.

It has been observed that several treatable animal diseases are no longer responding to the same antimicrobials that were initially effective in treating them. This trend in which disease-causing microorganisms resist the effects of drugs that they were initially susceptible to is raising concern for public, animal and environmental health.

What are the main causes of Antimicrobial Resistance?

The causes of Antimicrobial Resistance include:
1. Over prescription and overuse of antimicrobials.
2. Poor animal husbandry practices.
3. Poor farm bio-security and
4. A defective or absent infection prevention and control system.

Importance of Antimicrobials in Animal Production

  • Antimicrobial agents, including antibiotics, save millions of lives, substantially reduce the burden of diseases in animals, improve animal welfare, contribute to improved food production and safety, improve quality of life of animal owners and consequently contribute to the national economic development.
  • Misuse of antimicrobials in animals can result into antimicrobial resistance which would not only affect animal health but could also, subsequently, have significant effects on public health, environmental health and economic development.

Effects of AMR on the Animal Sub-sector

  • The emergence and spread of AMR in several microorganisms is complicating the management of many infectious diseases; it is a major threat to the fight against infectious diseases.
  • It leads to increased deaths of animals.
  • It endangers animal health and welfare, animal productivity, animal life as well as food production.
  • It threatens food security (decreased animal source food production and supply) and food safety (unsafe foods of animal origin).
  • AMR adversely affects the functioning of human, animal and plant health systems and ultimately social and economic development.
  • It raises the cost of treatment.
  • It affects other industries (trade and commerce; travel and tourism).
  • If resistant organisms spill from animals into the environment, agricultural production (crops, livestock and fish) and quality of water and sanitation are affected.
  • Spillage of resistant organisms from animals into humans will have devastating public health effects e.g. loss of lives, loss of productivity, decreased food production, consumption of unsafe foods, increased costs of treatment and overburdening of the constrained national health system.
  • Animal health, human health and environmental health are interconnected; any adverse effect on one affects the other two as well. Anything that affects these three will affect livelihoods and consequently, the economy.

What the Government of Uganda is Doing About AMR

  • The government is committed to the global and regional calls to combating AMR and promoting prudent use of antimicrobials in animals. The government is implementing the joint recommendations and guidelines of the OIE, WHO and FAO to achieve the following goals targeted by the tripartite-recommended actions:
    • Ensure that antimicrobial agents maintain their efficacy.
    • Promote prudent and responsible use of antimicrobial agents.
    • Facilitate access to quality drugs.
  • In 2018 Uganda launched her five-year AMR National Action Plan (NAP).
  • The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries is taking lead in implementing the animal sector-related activities of the NAP.
  • The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries has developed essential veterinary drug list and guidelines for the use of antibiotics on the farm.
  • Stakeholders in the animal sector in Uganda play critical roles variously in reducing the impact of AMR in the country.
  • Veterinary professionals play a critical role in educating animal owners and the public about AMR and encouraging the prudent use and management of antimicrobial products in animals.
  • The One Health Approach is being used in the implementation of the AMR National Action Plan for Uganda

Roles of Stakeholders in the Animal sub-sector

The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF)

Develop new and periodically review existing legislation, regulations and guidelines that promote antimicrobial stewardship (AMS)

  • Develop / review and implement legislations and regulations.
  • Develop / review guidelines for use of antimicrobials.
  • Create / review essential veterinary medicines list and national formulary.
  • Develop / review treatment guidelines.
  • Selection of appropriate antimicrobials for the country.

Create awareness about, monitor and incentivize safe and responsible use of antimicrobials

  • Implement an efficient pharmacovigilance system.
  • Create public awareness and sensitize all stakeholders on responsible use of antimicrobials and the consequences of irresponsible use.
  • Provide incentives to stakeholders who abide by guidelines for safe and responsible use of antimicrobials.
  • Monitor antimicrobial use (AMU).

Create awareness and promote the One Health approach in undertaking surveillance and research on AMR

  • Undertake surveillance on AMR.
  • Promote multidisciplinary research on AMR.
  • Create awareness among stakeholders and the public about AMR.
  • Promote multi-sectoral collaborations on AMR (One Health).

Develop policies for and promote research into as well as adoption of good husbandry practices that prevent occurrence of diseases

  • Promote livestock vaccination and other good husbandry practices that prevent occurrence of disease.
  • Develop policies and guidelines for good husbandry practices.
  • Promote and provide funding for research into disease prevention, detection and treatment approaches that reduce dependence on antimicrobials.


Roles of farmers in combating AMR

Adhere to the recommended dosage when using antimicrobials

Seek and adhere to veterinary professional guidance in use of antimicrobials: prescription, dosage, withdrawal periods and storage

  • Ensure that antimicrobials are used only with prescription and under supervision of an authorized veterinary professional
  • Observe withdrawal periods for the antimicrobial used
  • Observe antimicrobial storage instructions prescribed by the manufacturer
  • Adhere to veterinary professional guidance when using antimicrobials

Use antimicrobials only for the prescribed purposes and report treatment failures promptly

  • Use antimicrobials only for the prescribed purpose
  • Report treatment failures after use of antimicrobials to the veterinary authorities

Adopt sound husbandry practices (biosecurity, hygiene and vaccination protocols)

Roles of Livestock and Animal Products Traders

Desist from and report misuse of antimicrobials in animals and animal products

  • Only animal health professionals are authorized to administer antimicrobials to animals
  • Desist from and report adulteration of animal products.
  • Do not use antimicrobials for “preservation” of animal products
  • Observe withdrawal periods for antimicrobials when used

Adopt and promote good hygienic practices along the animal source food chain

  • Adopt good personal hygiene practices throughout the animal source food chain
  • Transport and store animal products at recommended temperatures
  • Source animals and animal products from farmers/suppliers complying with regulations and using good husbandry practices