Today (Thursday, June 23), Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, and Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, are hosting the Building One Health Action under iNAP2 conference at Farmleigh House.  

The event brings together stakeholders from across the One Health sectors – human health, animal, plant health and the environment.

The event recognises the work undertaken in Ireland’s National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance 2017-2021 (iNAP1), and acknowledges the publication of Ireland’s second One Health National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance 2021-2025 (iNAP2).  

Minister McConalogue said: “As Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, I see the connection between human and animal health has inextricably linked.

“Tackling AMR [antimicrobial resistance] collectively across the three One Health sectors is critically important to achieving the best public, animal and plant health, as well as environmental outcomes.

“This will aid us in achieving sustainable development and further ensuring food security. A One Health focus has never been more important considering the recent global challenges in both human and animal health such as Covid-19 and avian influenza,” McConalogue said.

Minister Donnelly added: “I’m delighted to see colleagues from the human health, animal and plant health and environment sectors coming together today at this important event.”

Dr. Martin Blake, chief veterinary officer at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) said: “Today’s event acknowledges all of the work done under iNAP1 in tackling AMR, and the even greater ambition driving the actions contained in iNAP2.

“Disease prevention and antimicrobial stewardship are both critical objectives in the context of mitigating the risk of AMR.’’

Human and animal health event

The keynote speaker at today’s event is Dr. Emer Cooke, executive director of the European Medicines Agency.

The event will include presentations from experts and practitioners across the human, animal and environmental health sectors. 

The ministers welcomed the progress achieved through the work and involvement of all the stakeholders who have made valuable contributions on various actions across the three sectors.

The ministers also acknowledged the members of the National Interdepartmental Antimicrobial Resistance Consultative Committee for their advice and guidance in relation to the development of both action plans. 

AMR action plans

National Action Plans on AMR are an international commitment to member states of both the European Commission and the World Health Organisation (WHO). 

iNAP2 was developed following the WHO Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance.

The plan contains a range of strategic interventions and activities across the human and animal health and environmental sectors grouped under five strategic objectives aimed at:

  1. Improving awareness and knowledge of AMR;
  2. Enhancing surveillance of antibiotic resistance and antibiotic use;
  3. Reducing the spread of infection and disease;
  4. Optimising the use of antibiotics in humans and animals;
  5. Promoting research and sustainable investment in new medicines, diagnostic tools, vaccines and other interventions 

What is AMR?

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is resistance of a microorganism to a drug that was originally effective for treatment of infections caused by that microorganism.

Resistant micro-organisms (including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites) are able to withstand attack by antimicrobial drugs, such as antibacterial drugs (e.g., antibiotics), antifungals, antivirals, and antimalarials, so that standard treatments become ineffective and infections persist, increasing the risk of spread to others. 

Antimicrobials are considered essential to the practice of modern medicine, enabling sophisticated medical interventions and treatments, such as chemotherapy and organ transplants.