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Public Health Wales welcomes five-year plan to combat antimicrobial resistance

Public health experts have welcomed the publication of a new five-year National Action Plan to combat antimicrobial resistance. 

Chief Medical and Veterinary Officers have said everyone must play their part in preventing one of the world’s biggest killers as they launch the next stage of a 20-year plan to reduce resistance to antibiotics. 

In 2019, there were an estimated 7,600 deaths directly from infections resistant to antibiotics (similar to the number of deaths in the UK due to stomach cancer), as well as 35,200 deaths as an indirect result of infections resistant to antibiotics.  

Even if the patient survives, resistance makes infections far more serious and difficult to treat successfully. But simple steps to prevent infections and avoid the inappropriate use of antibiotics in humans and animals can help prevent some of these deaths. 

The UK antimicrobial resistance national action plan 2024-29 was launched today (Wednesday 8 May). It commits the UK to reducing the need for, and optimising the use of, antimicrobials – such as antibiotics, antifungals and antivirals – in humans and animals, strengthen surveillance of drug resistant infections before they emerge and incentivise industry to develop the next generation of treatments. 

In 2019, the Governments of the UK published a 20-year vision to contain, control and mitigate antimicrobial resistance (AMR) by 2040. Despite the Covid pandemic, the UK has managed to reduce human exposure to antimicrobials by more than 8% since 2014 and reduced the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals by 59% between 2014 and 2022. 

In 2023, Wales prescribed 15% fewer antibiotics in general practice than 2014, through the hard work and diligence of prescribers, community pharmacists and health board teams working in the community. 

Robin Howe, Consultant Microbiologist for Public Health Wales, said: "Public Health Wales welcomes the launch of this next stage of a 20-year plan to reduce resistance to antibiotics by 2040.  

"We can all play a role in helping to prevent anti-microbial resistance. It is important we use antibiotics exactly as directed by a doctor, nurse or pharmacist. No-one should save antibiotics for later or share them with family, friends or pets. If you have unused antibiotics you should return them to your local pharmacy. Throwing them in the bin or flushing them down the toilet leads to the contamination of rivers threatening human and animal health.  

"Antibiotics are a precious resource we must protect."

Channel website: http://www.wales.nhs.uk

Original article link: https://phw.nhs.wales/news/public-health-wales-welcomes-five-year-plan-to-combat-antimicrobial-resistance/

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