Experts from FAO and Seychelles meet to draft antimicrobial resistance action plan
Minister Joubert said that this is a problem in the health system as well as one in livestock production. (Romano Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY
Authorities in Seychelles have joined forces with experts from the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) to draft an antimicrobial resistance action plan for the island nation.
This is being done through a five-day workshop being held at Eden Blue Hotel on the main island of Mahe where representatives will evaluate Seychelles' current action plan and assess its surveillance of antimicrobial resistance.
Antimicrobials include antibiotics and antivirals among others used to treat diseases in humans, animals and plants.
However, the misuse of these drugs could result in other micro-organisms that can become resistant to them and threaten not only people's health but also food safety and security.
"This workshop is one that is very important to us as we are focusing on our people's capacity to deal with the issues as well as evaluating the national surveillance system we have in place," the Minister for Agriculture, Flavien Joubert, said at the opening of the workshop on Monday.
Health professionals and representatives from the local department of agriculture are receiving assistance from experts of FAO to ensure that Seychelles' action plan covers all bases.
"We know that this is a problem in the health system as well as one in livestock production, as we know there is a connection between animals in the wild and those on farms," said Joubert.
The Seychelles draft national action plan on antimicrobial resistance, which was developed in 2017 and validated in 2018, was used during the workshop.
"The country is reviewing the draft with FAO today, which is a good thing as there are new elements that have been included," said an independent Seychellois veterinarian, Dr Jimmy Melanie.
"This will ensure that we have an action plan that is more up to date with developments in the field. This will especially apply in the field of surveillance, control and resistance and at the same time we will learn how to report on the issue," he added.
Melanie explained that "in the previous draft there were already things that were being implemented especially in the public health lab, now with the new one we will also include animal tests."
Despite having drafted an action plan, Seychelles had not really started the surveillance that it will undertake with the new action plan.
The workshop aims to re-emphasise the national plan on the surveillance of the various microbes that exist in the environment and the treatments used to control them.
In order to ensure that it is comprehensive, the representatives will use tools provided by the FAO to map and assess the laboratory capacity to analyse and detect antimicrobials in the food and agricultural sectors, how the data collected is analysed as well as find ways to further improve the system put in place.
Melanie said that the draft is not one that stands alone and that "it is under the one health umbrella, once we have a one health committee established we will go ahead with the programme."
Once the review is completed, Seychelles will have an action plan that it may use for the coming three to five years and work to achieve the world goal of health and prosperity through sustainable means.