MAURITIUS—Mauritius has successfully developed its  Second National Action Plan on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) for 2024-2028.

This development took place at a three-week intensive workshop funded by the World Health Organization.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Environment, Pharmaceutical Unit, and veterinarians, among others, attended this workshop. The Second National Action Plan was designed using the One Health method.

This follows concerns by Mauritius Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) that hospital-acquired infections, many of which are caused by drug-resistant organisms, are a major cause of death in the country.

Mauritius has made considerable strides toward developing its National Action Plan on AMR using a OneHealth strategy, as guided by the OneHealth Committee, with its first plan based on the ‘One-Health approach’ in 2017.

This committee is made up of a variety of stakeholders, with a focus on quadripartite collaboration between human, animal, and plant health, as well as the environment, which is critical for comprehensive prevention, mitigation, and response to antimicrobial resistance.

The 2024-2028 National Action Plan is intended to give a contextualized path for addressing AMR in Mauritius.

The plan involves activities to encourage responsible antimicrobial use in healthcare and agriculture, improve surveillance systems to track resistance trends and fund public awareness campaigns.

It highlights the essential objectives, methods, and interventions that will help the country address this significant concern.

In September 2023, the same team from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) evaluated the first National Action Plan (NAP) 2018-2022.

Several initiatives in the human and animal health sectors were carried out throughout the NAP’s implementation phase, with the assistance of UN organizations such as WHO, FAO, OIE, and UNEP.

According to WHO, bacterial AMR caused 1.27 million deaths worldwide in 2019 and contributed to 4.95 million deaths.

The abuse and overuse of antimicrobials in humans, animals, and plants is the primary cause of drug-resistant pathogen growth.

Speaking during the workshop Dr. Anne Ancia, WHO Representative, highlighted the high prevalence of multidrug organisms reported in hospitals, particularly in intensive care units.

The rising rate of AMR and the drop in new medicines entering the pharmaceutical market are anticipated to exacerbate the problem of a lack of treatment for resistant infections, adding to greater mortality rates, according to her.

Dr T. Nuckchady, the National AMR Focal Person, on his part, emphasized that antibiotic resistance undermines the effectiveness of essential medicines, which leads to prolonged illnesses, increased healthcare costs, and higher mortality rates.

He went on to say that uncontrolled AMR’s financial implications exacerbate the burden not just on population health but also on the country’s socioeconomic impact.

The Honourable Dr Kailesh Jagutpal, Minister of Health and Wellness, concluded by stating that combating AMR necessitates a multi-sectoral and holistic approach, and that this workshop was an important step toward reaching that objective.

Mauritius has been  committed to preserving the efficacy of antimicrobials for future generations 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

This has necessitated a well-thought-out action plan for mitigating the risk of antimicrobial resistance, assuring the continuous efficiency of antimicrobial treatments, and conserving one of modern medicine’s foundations.

On its part, WHO has continually campaigned for the development and implementation of NAPs, with 170 countries having completed their action plans.

However, it is concerning that the AMR NAP deployment is still ‘fragmented and segmented’. Greater political commitment and investment are really important.

This second national action plan on AMR, which has been costed with technical assistance from WHO, will be implemented in early 2024, pending country approval.

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