The rise in global resistance to antibiotics is one of the acute problems addressed under the umbrella of One Health, a concept based on the idea that human and animal diseases are so closely interlinked that efforts to combat them need to be co-ordinated. The Nordic Council has taken an interest in the issue and hosted a conference on it in Copenhagen on 17 May.
In his opening speech the President of the Nordic Council, Henrik Dam Kristensen, highlighted the increasing awareness that doctors and vets need to work more closely together in a range of areas if disease is to be tackled more successfully.
“The Nordic Region has always had positive traditions in food safety, contingency planning for contagious diseases and restricting the use of antibiotics. We should pool our experiences and learn more from each other,” he continued.
Co-ordination and branding of Nordic knowledge and experience would also boost the Region’s competitiveness and raise the profile of the resistance issue at global level.
One Health has made progress as problems like the transmission of resistance to antibiotics from animals to humans and the general transmission of other diseases such as tuberculosis, salmonella, rabies and avian flu, have become increasingly severe.
The President of the Nordic Council, Henrik Dam Kristensen, talking about One Health.
“Like visionary Vikings the Nordic Region should export its experiences in food safety and resistance policy to the rest of the world,” said Jørgen Schlundt, Deputy director general of DTU Food (the National Food Institute at the Technical University of Denmark).
Nordic data has led to an EU ban on antibiotic growth medicines for animals, a measure it is hoped will spread to the rest of the world.
Andreas Heddini of ReAct - Action on Antibiotic Resistance also highlighted the speed at which the antibiotics currently on the market are losing their effectiveness, partly as a result of their widespread use in livestock but also because of over-consumption by people who buy them over the counter in many countries. He also identified the lack of any incentive for the pharmaceutical industry to develop new antibiotics as another crucial issue.
“Resistance is not a problem that can be eradicated instantly but minimising the irrational use of antibiotics would be a positive step. The solution lies in innovative partnerships between official bodies, civic society and the industry,” he concluded.
The members’ proposal submitted to the Nordic Council proposes an action plan for One Health, including political recommendations, co-ordination of knowledge and experiences and a plan for how the Region can help put the issue and Nordic solutions on the global agenda. The proposal is currently being processed and will be debated at the annual Session of the Nordic Council in Copenhagen, November 1-3.
The whole conference can be viewed at .