The Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU will continue to build on previous achievements, focusing on improving infection prevention and control measures and optimizing the use of antibiotics in the human, animal and environmental sectors, strengthening the development and implementation of national plans of action through the "One Health" concept, but also on encouraging solidarity among countries through joint activities in combating antimicrobial resistance (AMR), Health Minister Sorina Pintea said on Friday.
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Healthcare officials and experts, representatives from the veterinary and environmental sectors of the EU member states participate on Friday in the conference "Next Steps to Make the EU a Best Practice Region in the Combat Antimicrobial Resistance" that takes place in Bucharest under the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
"We need to be careful to align the EU plan of action with the WHO global plan for the combat of antimicrobial resistance and to encourage member states to allocate the necessary resources to fight AMR. Setting ambitious targets and translating the political decision into concrete actions are crucial for a favorable evolution of limiting AMR and its consequences," the minister said.
According to Sorina Pintea, the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union supports the previous achievements by other states in this field.
"WHO considers AMR to be one of the top 10 global health risks in 2019 and in the years to come. It is time to act now because the optimal period of intervention is running out fast. Without prompt measures, common for the human, animal and environmental sector, many infections can become widespread threats to life and will also affect the health systems and economies in Europe and globally," Pintea said.
In her opinion, AMR is a complex multi-factor issue that affects not only health systems, but also impacts on global economic growth, with an estimated cost of 90 trillion euro in the next 30 years.
"The AMR is influenced by the dynamic links between the human, animal and environmental health sectors and is currently one of the greatest challenges to public health. As far as the direct impact on health systems is concerned, at least 670,000 multi-resistant micro-organism infections have occurred in EU / European Economic Area states alone, resulting in over 33,000 deaths in 2015. This disease burden has an EU-wide growth trend and directly impacts the patients' safety," Pintea said.
The Health Minister also explained that AMR affects mostly low and middle income countries, but the EU member states are not "behind a curtain" that protects them from this threat to public health and therefore they need to take effective action and implement the best practices in the field to be able to control the phenomenon.
"Partnerships to reduce AMR in less developed countries through programs addressing infectious diseases, supporting appropriate AMR policy initiatives in partner countries through international collaboration and specific instruments, supporting the development of adaptive health systems must all be on the EU agenda," said Sorina Pintea.