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Marking the European Antibiotic Awareness Day, IVAA publishes recommendations for action against antimicrobial resistance

AMR is a major global public health threat and infections caused by multi-resistant bacteria are predicted to be a leading cause of death by 2050

 

The 18th of November is the European Antibiotic Awareness Day, giving start to the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, 18 – 24 November. Marking the occasion, the International Federation of Anthroposophic Medical Association (IVAA) is publishing a new position paper on antimicrobial resistance (AMR), calling on decision-makers to take action in the areas of policy, public education, research and development to include integrative medicine approaches in their national action plans to fight AMR. IVAA stresses the need for a One Health approach in tackling AMR.  

Antimicrobial Resistance: The silent pandemic urges for global action in a One Health approach1 

The World Health Organization declared AMR– the ability of microorganisms to resist antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal and antiparasitic medicines – as one of the ten major global public health threats facing humanity2. Not only does AMR affect humans, but also animals, plants and the environment, and thus, should be tackled with a One Health approach by multisectoral fields.  Multi-resistant bacteria development is the result of over- and misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals, including the agricultural and animal husbandry sector, along with the direct discharge of waste products from pharmaceutical production plants and hospitals into water bodies3

The contribution of Anthroposophic Medicine to addressing the issue of AMR 

Anthroposophic Medicine contributes to the addressing of the problem of AMR through a wide range of prevention and treatment methods:  

  1. Patient resilience and health promotion for optimum health is at the heart of Integrative and Anthroposophic Medicine, aiming towards a state of optimal health, a naturally reinforced immune system, and a stronger health resilience; 

  2. Safe and effective non-antibiotic treatment methods offered by Anthroposophic Medicine reduce the need for antibiotic treatments; 

  3. Anthroposophic and Integrative Medicine makes use of medicinal products and treatment methods with low environmental risks involved, while offering the safe and effective treatment strategies in tackling infectious diseases’ 

  4. Anthroposophic Medicine supports a multi-sectoral One Health approach to AMR, by offering multimodal prevention and treatment methods to human health, while supporting organic and biodynamic agricultural and husbandry approaches.  

Considering the growing global consumption of antibiotics and the pressing issue of AMR on health systems and the environment, safe and effective non-antibiotic prevention, and treatment methods, including those offered by Anthroposophic Medicine, should be included in prevention and treatment strategies addressing AMR. 

IVAA’s recommendations  

In the newest position paper, IVAA calls for actions in a number of areas: 

  1. Anthroposophic Medicine and other integrative medicine approaches should be included as promising options in European and international policies to prevent AMR and reduce antibiotic use; 

  2. Processes of health promotion and patient resilience should be included as strategies of prevention in national public health strategies and in National Action Plans on AMR; 

  3. Public education on reducing antibiotic use in health services should include options of evidence-based Integrative Medicine approaches in prevention and treatment of infectious diseases; 

  4. Further evaluation and research on anthroposophic and integrative medicine approaches on AMR should be better prioritized and supported in academic and research institutions. Outcomes should be shared with healthcare professionals, policy makers, stakeholders and public through appropriate tools; 

  5. The One Health approach and the collaboration between human, animal, and plant sectors should be fostered on regional, national, and international level to effectively prevent AMR in an environmentally sustainable way.  

 

To read and download the full position paper, click here


1) The concept of One Health was defined in the Political Declaration of the high level meeting of the General Assembly on antimicrobial resistance of the United Nations as "the integrative effort of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally and globally 
to attain optimal health for people, animals and the environment" United Nations, 'Political declaration of the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on antimicrobial resistance', United Nations, New York, N.Y. (USA), 2016. http://digitallibrary.un.org/record/842813/files/A_71_L-2-EN.pdf

 

2) https://www.who.int/health-topics/antimicrobial-resistance 

 

3) Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, The Council and the European Economic And Social Committee, 2019: European Union Strategic Approach to Pharmaceuticals in the Environment. COM(2019) 128 final.  https://ec.europa.eu/environment/water/water-dangersub/pdf/strategic_approach_pharmaceuticals_env.PDF