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New Zealand launches action plan to fight antimicrobial resistance

WELLINGTON, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand on Sunday launched an action plan to address the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance, calling for the unity of scientists, governments and international agencies.

The New Zealand Antimicrobial Resistance Action Plan will underpin the country's efforts to ensure that antimicrobials are managed carefully, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said in a release.

Antimicrobial resistance is where microorganisms that cause infections in humans, animals and plants become resistant to antibiotic, antiviral, anti-parasitic and antifungal medications. A key risk from increased antimicrobial resistance is that people will needlessly die from infections and diseases that medications are able to cure.

"We want medicines to remain effective for treating infections in humans, as well as managing diseases in animals and plants," Coleman said.

The plan is focused on surveillance and monitoring activities, as well as regulatory oversight of the use of antimicrobials in animals and plants. It will also look to improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance and improve infection prevention and control, he said.

The action plan was finalized following its presentation at the 70th World Health Assembly in May and is ready for implementation in New Zealand, Coleman said, adding that the five key objectives in the plan align with international efforts and ensure that New Zealand is playing its part in the global response.

Food Safety Minister David Bennett said that the Ministry of Health and Ministry for Primary Industries have worked together on this action plan because resistant microbes arising in humans, animals or the environment impact each other.

"As a major food producer, New Zealand must manage antimicrobial resistance in animals and plants effectively," Bennett said.

[ Editor: zyq ]