Introduction and Background
Responding to the urgent need to tackle Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in animal health, the African Union-Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) is organizing a virtual meeting. This event follows the success of the first Africa AMR Surveillance Network (AMRSNET) Forum online meeting held in September 2023.
Scheduled for February 5th to 7th, 2024, the online Regional AMR Forum Meeting will bring together selected French-speaking countries from ECOWAS, EAC, and UMA. Countries such as Guinea Conakry, Sao Tome, Senegal, Mali, Cote D’ivoire, Benin, Togo, Tchad, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Burundi, DRC, Djibouti, Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria will participate in this virtual gathering.
The excessive use of antimicrobials in managing animal diseases in Africa has led to a troubling rise in antimicrobial resistance. To combat this issue, AU-IBAR, as a specialized technical office under the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, and Sustainable Environment (DARBE) of the African Union Commission (AUC), is dedicated to coordinating efforts for the responsible use of animal resources.
This virtual meeting aligns with AU-IBAR's mandate and vision. It also adheres to the African Union Framework for Antimicrobial Resistance Control (2020-2025) and the AU Task Force for AMR control, focusing on improving surveillance, delaying AMR emergence, limiting transmission, and mitigating harm from AMR microorganisms.
Objectives and Expected Outcomes
The main objective of the meeting is to promote information sharing among the African Union member states in the ECOWAS, EAC, and UMA regions with regard to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance in the field of animal health. Some of the specific goals include encouraging learning from progressive neighbours, connecting AMR focal points, and facilitating knowledge-sharing among certain French-speaking AU member states. The anticipated results include the sharing of knowledge across AMR focal points, the acquisition of useful experiences by AU member states, and the improvement of familiarity within the AMRSNET community. The goal of these results is to improve antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance capacities and teamwork in the fight against this epidemic.
The agenda for the Regional African Antimicrobials Resistance Surveillance Network (AMRSNET) Forum Meeting spans three days and is designed to foster collaboration and knowledge-sharing. The first day involves introductory remarks and presentations on the objectives and outputs of the learning event. Country presentations on AMR activities will be the focus of the second day, followed by discussions. The third day includes additional country presentations, regional overviews, discussions on AMRSNET, and concludes with closing remarks, emphasizing the significance of collective efforts in addressing antimicrobial resistance in the region.
In conclusion, the upcoming Virtual Regional AMR Forum Meeting for selected French-speaking countries within ECOWAS, EAC, and UMA is a crucial step in collaborative efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance in the animal health sector. Leveraging the virtual platform for knowledge-sharing, this meeting aims to contribute significantly to AU's vision of an Africa where animal resources play a vital role in integration, prosperity, and peace.