World Health Organization infographic on antibiotic resistance and what the agriculture sector can do (credit: WHO).

Infographic on antibiotic resistance and what steps the agriculture sector can take to tackle this global challenge (credit: World Health Organization).

The Lancet yesterday (18 Nov 2015) published a new series titled Antimicrobials: sustainable access and effectiveness in recognition of the World Health Organization’s inaugural World Antibiotic Awareness Week, 16 to 22 November 2015.

The theme of the global campaign, Antibiotics: Handle with Care, reflects the overarching message that antibiotics are a precious resource and should be preserved. They should be used to treat bacterial infections, only when prescribed by a certified health professional. Antibiotics should never be shared and the full course of treatment should be completed – not saved for the future.

The five papers in the Lancet Series cover access to effective antimicrobials as a global challenge, understanding the mechanisms and the drivers of antimicrobial resistance, maximizing access to achieve appropriate human antimicrobial use in low- and middle-income countries, exploring the evidence base for national and regional policy interventions to combat resistance, and international cooperation to improve access to and sustain effectiveness of antimicrobials.

Accompanying the papers are three comments that discuss achieving the balance between sustainable access and sustainable effectiveness of antibiotics, animal production and antimicrobial resistance in the clinic and national action for global gains in tackling the challenge of antimicrobial resistance.

Timothy Robinson, a scientist at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), is the lead author of the comment titled Animal production and antimicrobial resistance in the clinic. His co-authors are Heiman F.L. Wertheim, Manish Kakkar, Samuel Kariuki, Dengpan Bu and Lance B. Price.

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