A Welsh project designed to help tackle antimicrobial resistance in animals and the environment in Wales has been launched.

Arwain DGC (Defnydd Gwrthfaicrobaidd Cyfrifol) Cymru is at the forefront of the fight against the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

AMR is categorized as a “One Health” global challenge and calls are made for urgent multisectoral action. AMR has been described by the World Health Organization as a problem where “without urgent action we are heading into a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries can kill again.”

Arwain DGC includes a calendar of activities and brings together experienced collaborators to deliver a broad program addressing antimicrobial resistance in animals and the environment. Included are key Welsh agricultural players (Menter a Busnes, Welsh Lamb and Beef Producers Ltd and Welsh Agricultural Organization Society), academic institutions (University of Bristol and Aberystwyth University School of Veterinary Science) and veterinary delivery partners (Iechyd Da and Milfeddygon Gogledd Cymru).

Closely aligned with the Welsh Government’s five-year AMR implementation plan for animals and the environment (2019-2024). This project has received funding through the Welsh Government’s Rural Communities Rural Development Program 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

Arwain DGC builds on the pioneering work of an earlier project – Arwain Vet Cymru (AVC) – which focused on improving the prescription of antibiotics in cattle and sheep through a network of champions veterinary prescription across Wales. Stroke’s work has subsequently become the model for similar programs in the UK and around the world.

The global Arwain DGC project is led by Menter a Busnes (MaB), each partner being responsible for the specialized elements of its delivery.

MaB Animal Health Services Director Dewi Hughes said: “We look forward to working with our partners and stakeholders to test and develop new techniques to control and manage the use of antimicrobials to protect their future use. for animals and humans.

Don Thomas of Welsh Lamb and Beef Producers Ltd (WLBP) said the organization looks forward to playing its part in this important project.

He added, “WLBP will participate in developing more digital tools to collect, store, manage and analyze key data on antibiotic use (and especially for critically important antibiotics) from our 7,000+ breeders. members in Wales.

“We strongly believe that the management and provision of this data will provide an important future marketing opportunity for our member farmers. “

Welcoming the launch of Arwain DGC, Robert Smith of Iechyd Da said the project was a natural continuation and extension of the original stroke program.

He added: “Iechyd Da’s projects under the program include developing a biosafety application for veterinarians and collecting syndromic surveillance data from member practices in Wales in collaboration with the Welsh Veterinary Science Center.

“Member practices will also actively participate in the further development of the Veterinary Prescribing Champions Network and assist with on-farm sample collection to understand the relationship between AMR and antimicrobial use on Welsh farms.”

Dr Gwen Rees of the Aberystwyth School of Veterinary Science and last year’s recipient of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeon’s Impact Award for her leadership of the Stroke Veterinary Prescribing Champions Network will further develop this work, creating guidelines national prescribing systems for cattle and sheep, developing a voluntary code of conduct for prescribing antimicrobials and understanding antimicrobial patterns in the equine industry.

She said: “I am delighted to be able to continue and develop the important work of stroke and our dedicated network of veterinary prescribing champions across Wales. We have already made huge strides in improving the prescription of antibiotics for farm animals in Wales, and it’s exciting to take it to the next level.

Professors Kristen Reyher and Matthew Avison and their teams, who are part of Bristol AMR at the University of Bristol, are strengthening their global leadership on understanding associations between antimicrobial use and antimicrobial resistance on farms and design an active surveillance program for Wales.

Kristen Reyher, Professor of Veterinary Epidemiology and Population Health, said: “The University of Bristol is delighted to be part of this important work in Wales, sharing knowledge from similar work programs we have conducted. in England, Thailand and Argentina.

“The AVC program was designed in Bristol following a project initiated by Iechyd Da and we are pleased to be able to extend its impact by further studying the microbiology and epidemiology of AMR on Welsh farms with an excellent team of leaders in Welsh agriculture. “

North Wales Minister for Rural Affairs and Trefnydd Lesley Griffiths said: “I am extremely proud that the Welsh Government has been able to sponsor such exciting and innovative work.

“This will put Wales at the forefront of tackling the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This project includes a number of interventions piloted here in Wales, many for the first time. The control of infectious diseases and the responsible use of the antibiotics used to treat them is in the hands of animal keepers and their veterinarians and we need a collective effort to make lasting changes to keep our animals in good health. health. This will reduce the need to use antibiotics and ensure that they are used appropriately when absolutely necessary. This work builds on and contributes to the implementation of our AMR implementation plan for animals and the environment.

“The lessons we learn will shape our approach to tackling antimicrobial resistance, helping to protect the health and well-being of our future generations. “

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