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Mauritius takes on anti-microbial resistance with development of a second Plan of Action

Mauritius has successfully developed its second national action plan on anti-microbial resistance (AMR) 2024-2028, through a three-week robust workshop supported by the World Health Organization. This comes following the evaluation of the first national action plan (NAP) 2018-2022 by the same team from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) in September 2023.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness of Mauritius has shown great concern about the burden of AMR. A significant number of deaths in Mauritius can be attributed to hospital-acquired infections, many of which are caused by drug-resistant organisms. The global findings are also worrying with 1.27 million deaths caused by AMR while a further 4.95 million deaths are associated with AMR in 2019.

The WHO Representative Dr Anne Ancia has underlined the high rates of multi-drug organisms reported at hospital level and most importantly in the intensive care units. The growing rates of AMR and the decline in new antibiotics emerging on the pharmaceutical market are likely to accentuate the problem of lack of treatment for resistant infections contributing to higher mortality rates.

Dr T. Nuckchady, the National AMR Focal person highlighted antimicrobial resistance “undermines the effectiveness of essential medicines, leading to prolonged illnesses, increased healthcare costs, and higher mortality rates.”

The financial implication of uncontrolled AMR further intensifies the burden not only for the health of the population but also for the country socio-economic impact. WHO has consistently advocated for the development and implementation of NAPs leading to 170 countries having developed their action plans. However, it is alarming that the implementation of AMR NAP remains ‘fragmented and siloed’. Greater political commitment and investment are highly necessary

Mauritius has made a major step towards the development of the National Action Plan on AMR using a OneHealth approach, guided by the OneHealth Committee, comprised of multiple stakeholders and particularly the quadripartite collaboration between the human, animal and plant health as well as the environment, essential for a holistic prevention, mitigation and response to anti-microbial resistance.

The Minister of Health and Wellness Honourable Dr Kailesh Jagutpal asserts: ‘We recognize that addressing AMR requires a multi-sectoral and comprehensive approach, and this workshop marks a pivotal step towards realizing that vision.’

In 2017, Mauritius adopted a National Action Plan on AMR based on the ‘One-Health approach’ following endorsement by the Government. Throughout the implementation phase of the NAP, several activities were implemented both in the human and animal health sectors with the support of the UN agencies such as WHO, FAO, OIE and UNEP.

A well-crafted action plan is crucial to mitigate the risk of antimicrobial resistance, ensuring the continued efficacy of antimicrobial treatments and preserving one of the cornerstones of modern medicine. Through collaboration with WHO, the One Health approach was used to develop the second national action plan for Mauritius during a workshop with the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Environment, Pharmaceutical Unit and veterinarians, among others. This plan includes initiatives to promote responsible antimicrobial use in healthcare and agriculture, enhance surveillance systems to monitor resistance trends, and invest in public awareness campaigns.

The 2024-2028 National Action Plan has been designed to provide a contextualized roadmap for confronting AMR in Mauritius. It outlines the key objectives, strategies, and interventions that will guide the country in tackling this important challenge. By strengthening surveillance and monitoring systems; improving infection prevention and control practices; promoting responsible antimicrobial use and prescription for humans and animals; and investing in research and innovation, Mauritius highly endeavors to preserve the efficacy of antimicrobials for generations to come. This second national action plan on AMR, costed with the technical support from WHO, will be implemented, once the country’s approval is obtained, in early 2024.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO) – Mauritius.

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