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The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining, is taking steps to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as a critical measure in safeguarding the country’s food security.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Floyd Green, said that the Veterinary Services Division, through its surveillance, monitoring and laboratory services, is ensuring that the country’s food supply is free from antibiotic residue, pesticides, hormones, and environmental contaminants such as lead, cadmium and mercury.
He noted that the veterinarians, veterinary para-professionals and other stakeholders are playing a key role through regulating and supervising the use of antimicrobials, giving professional advice to farmers and animal owners, and collaborating with health professionals as part of a multi-stakeholder approach to managing AMR.
He further cited activities focused on agricultural health and food safety under the Ministry’s ‘New Face of Food’ initiative to combat the serious threat posed by AMR.
Minister Green was addressing the World Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Week ceremony on November 21 at the Veterinary Services Division in Kingston.
Antimicrobials are medicines used to fight diseases.
Resistance occurs when germs (bacteria, fungi, or viruses) no longer respond to medicines, making them ineffective and infections become difficult or impossible to treat.
This, in turn, increases the risk of disease spread, severe illness and in many cases death.
Resistant germs can spread between humans, animals, and the environment, posing a threat to food security.
AMR Awareness Week, from November 18 to 24, is a global campaign by the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise awareness and encourage action among stakeholders to tackle the emergence and spread of drug-resistant pathogens using a ‘One Health’ approach.
This involves multi-stakeholder collaboration across various sectors at the local, national, regional and global levels, to become more responsible and aware of how they might unknowingly contribute to the spread of AMR.
Minister Green said that the Ministry fully supports the ‘One Health’ drive in countering the effects of AMR.
“By fostering cooperation across all sectors, the One Health approach will allow us to regulate the use of antimicrobials and mitigate the emergence of new resistant strains of microbes. We, at the Ministry, recognise the inextricable link which exists between humans, animals, and their environment,” he said.