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One Health Day and World Antibiotic Awareness Week Raise the Importance of a One Health Approach to Address Antimicrobial Resistance

November 2, 2018

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) strongly supports the involvement of veterinarians in One Health as they play a key role in improving the health and welfare of the animals they treat in a manner that also protects and supports human health and a healthy environment.

The One Health approach is particularly relevant to the development of collaborative strategies for responsible antimicrobial use and thereby supporting the control of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

"Antimicrobial resistance is recognized as a growing threat around the world. One response to this on a national level has been the upcoming federal government policy and regulatory changes affecting the use of medically important antimicrobials in animals,” says CVMA President, Dr. Terri Chotowetz. “The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association has been actively engaged in activities intended to support a new approach towards veterinary oversight of antimicrobial use."

In February 2018, the CVMA undertook the second phase of two initiatives that support the global and national strategy to reduce antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and to address, respectively, antimicrobial stewardship and antimicrobial use surveillance in animals.

Project activities focused on developing ready-for-delivery, practical tools to assist veterinarians in the prudent use of antimicrobials for six defined species groups - swine, poultry, beef, dairy, small ruminants and companion animals, as well as conceptualizing, designing and proposing a pilot veterinary AMU surveillance initiative focusing initially on animal feed.

The two initiatives were integrated in a workshop aimed at identifying opportunities where AMU stewardship can help target surveillance activities and, vice versa, where surveillance data can support stewardship activities. Workshop participants included veterinary practitioners, veterinary regulatory bodies, federal and provincial government representatives, industry officials (producers, feed and animal health industries) and academics.

A pilot of the online stewardship tool was tested throughout the summer of 2018 in targeted regions and agricultural sectors in Canada.

Both initiatives began in early 2017, with the financial support from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. CVMA will seek additional funding to fully develop and implement the outputs developed under these projects.

The CVMA actively participates on the sub-committee of the Canadian Animal Health Products Regulatory Advisory Committee (CAHPRAC) and continues to discuss the implementation and impacts of Health Canada’s moving all medically important antimicrobials to the Prescription Drug List (by December 2018). The sub-committee members include, in addition to the CVMA, participants from the drug industry, food producers, feed producers, Health Canada, and Canadian Food Inspection Agency. It recognizes the importance of collaboration and helping to develop plans around consistent communication regarding the transition, engagement of stakeholders, and implementation of key timelines. Visit the Veterinary Oversight of Antimicrobial Use in Animals in Canada section of the CVMA website, under the Policy & Advocacy tab, to find out more.

The work by the CVMA will help Canada’s commitment to conserve the effectiveness of antimicrobials now and into the future, in animals and humans, as described in the Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance and Antimicrobial Use: A Pan-Canadian Framework for Action that can be found on the Canada.ca website.

One Health Day takes place on November 3, 2018. The goal is to raise awareness of the One Health approach for managing complex health problems involving people, animals and the environment. For more information, visit the One Health Commission’s website at www.onehealthcommission.org.

World Antibiotic Awareness Week runs from November 12 to 18, 2018. It aims to increase awareness of global antibiotic resistance and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance. Visit the World Health Organization website for more information.