Source: FAO Regional Office for Africa |

Zimbabwe evaluates progress of its AMR National Action Plan

In its five year AMR action plan, Zimbabwe developed and modelled five strategic objectives

The current action plan comes to an end this year and this naturally leads us to reflecting on the progress made in the past five years

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, April 20, 2022/APO Group/ --

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), is a growing threat where the substances (“antimicrobials”) used to kill or neutralize pathogens lose their effectiveness.

Every year, on average, 700,000 people die because of AMR, this number without global action, will continue to rise in tandem with food production losses leading to food insecurity. More recently, a research has shown that around five million human deaths were associated with AMR in 2019.

To combat such a crisis, in 2015 and using a One-Health (OH) approach, three leading Tripartite organizations (the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and World Health Organization (WHO) developed and subsequently adopted a global action plan (GAP) on AMR. They further endorsed the development of multisectoral national action plans (NAP) for the implementation of measures combating AMR.

“It is within this context that FAO provided technical and financial support to its member states, including Zimbabwe, allowing them to develop their own National Action Plans tailored to their needs and aligned to the Global Action Plan. In Zimbabwe, with support from UK Government’s Fleming Fund, we supported the government to develop and launch a 5 year national action plan (2017 – 2022), using a One Health approach.” said Deputy FAO Representative in Zimbabwe, Louis Muhigirwa, speaking on behalf of Patrice Talla, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Southern Africa and FAO Representative in Zimbabwe.

In its five year AMR action plan, Zimbabwe developed and modelled five strategic objectives whose main focus was:

  • Increase awareness of AMR
  • Build capacity for AMR Surveillance
  • Prudent use of antimicrobials
  • Infection prevention and control (in the human health sector) and Biosecurity in animal production systems) and
  • Research and development (Innovations that can help combat AMR).

Since then, Zimbabwe has made significant progress in the implementation of the National Action Plan for AMR. As the five year action plan is about to lapse, national AMR experts drawn from multiple sectors of One Health, which includes ministries, research and academia, and the private sector, embarked on self-assessment of the progress in the implementation of the action plan and agree on actions to be taken on escalating AMR management in the country. The assessment is being conducted at a workshop underway from 19 to 22 April 2022 in Bulawayo, with technical support of the tripartite.

Speaking in his opening remarks at the Bulawayo workshop, Dr. Josphat Nyika, the Chief Director of the Department of Veterinary Services’, said that, Zimbabwe intends to capitalize on this workshop, to take stock of what worked well during the last five years. In addition, this assessment will guide the process of revising and updating the National Action Plan for implementation in a progressive manner in the coming years.

“The current action plan comes to an end this year and this naturally leads us to reflecting on the progress made in the past five years. What are the lessons learned? Are we better off today than five years ago? Has the battle against the Superbugs been won? Resource people here will help us to answer some of these questions,” said Dr. Josphat Nyika.

Louis Muhigirwa added that monitoring and evaluation efforts for AMR interventions and containment, was crucial in today's growing threat of the “silent pandemic, which threatens to unwind a century of medical progress, and send us back to the pre-antibiotic era, when routine infections could mean death.”

The evaluation workshop is a collaborative activity between the Government of Zimbabwe and FAO, which is enriched by the well acknowledged participation of different sectors, including the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC), the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development (MLAFWRD), the Ministry of Environment, Climate Tourism and Hospitality Industry (MECTHI), the academia as well as the private sector. Experts from the other members of the tripartite are also participating in the workshop. 

For the self-assessment exercise, the stakeholders will be using the FAO Progressive Management Pathway for Antimicrobial Resistance (FAO-PMP-AMR) tool. Koen Mintiens and Jieun Kim (Specifically-trained FAO-PMP-AMR facilitators) of FAO HQ in Rome will help participants assess progress within the different focus areas and stages.

About the Project

The Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance: Addressing gaps in surveillance of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in Zimbabwe, project aligns with the National Action Plan (NAP) for antimicrobial resistance and with the investments made by other donors and stakeholders in this area. In the Human, Environmental and Animal Health sectors, the grant is also investing in the improvement of AMR and AMU data collection, management, analysis and use in multi-sectoral decision making, as well as in the reinforcement of surveillance site laboratories. Overall Objective: Strengthened One Health governance structure for AMR, AMU and AMC surveillance to coordinate, manage and monitor AMR activities.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of FAO Regional Office for Africa.