There is a clear need for wide-reaching factual information programmes on AMR according to several recent surveys on consumer perceptions and awareness of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This points to the growing need for greater understanding and demonstrates that science-based information should be one of the main points of action for the upcoming EU Action Plan to combat antimicrobial resistance, says IFAH-Europe.
The European Food Safety Authority’s recently published report on Perceptions on the human health impact of AMR and antibiotics use in animals across the EU echoes the findings of the Commission’s Eurobarometer on Antimicrobial Resistance awareness, which showed that knowledge of citizens across the EU remains low. Indeed these findings concur with IFAH-Europe’s citizens’ survey carried out in 2016 which showed that 69% of respondents have concerns about antibiotic-resistant bacteria from farm animals being passed to people and 49% think that the use of antibiotics in farm animals makes antibiotics less effective for people. EFSA’s report shows that 57% of respondents said they did not receive any information about resistance to antibiotics over the past year and 61% said that they don’t have enough knowledge about the use of antibiotics in farmed animals.
This reinforces IFAH-Europe’s belief that information campaigns should be an essential part of the second EU action plan on AMR if we are to avoid the eventuality that misinformation becomes the norm. When people look to non-scientific sources for information on such complicated issues, we rely on public authorities to ensure that the facts are accessible, understandable and take precedence over leading or vague assumptions or extrapolating ‘facts’ from a selection of limited data.
“IFAH-Europe will point to information sharing to be an indispensable element of the action plan in our response to the Commission’s Consultation on possible activities under a 'Commission Communication on a One Health Action Plan to support Member States in the fights against Antimicrobial Resistance. The animal health industry wishes to actively contribute to providing factual guidance for the development of educational materials or courses for both veterinarians and farmers on the responsible use of all animal health products. We are also open to providing information for consumer-targeted informative campaigns”, said IFAH-Europe Secretary General, Roxane Feller.