December 17, 2021

COMBAT-AMR launches Animal Health workplan with partners in Samoa to tackle antimicrobial resistance

Working closely with in country partners; the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Samoa and Animal Protection Society, COMBAT-AMR has developed and launched an animal health workplan to tackle the rising threat of antimicrobial resistance.

Based on the findings of a comprehensive situation and needs assessment, the animal health workplan will prioritise strengthening the expertise of the Samoan animal health workforce in the diagnosis of illnesses and administering appropriate antibiotic treatments.

“It is projected that over the years there will be a growing demand for animal-source food and agri-products, so the demand for antimicrobial use is also expected to grow,” says Afioga Tilafono David Hunter, Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Samoa.

“Now more than ever it is important to form collaborations with experts in these areas especially veterinarians, to develop programs and work plans to address such issues of overuse and misuse of antimicrobials.”

The workplan will focus on stewardship in the appropriate use of antibiotics, to reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance emerging and to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics for the future. Farm animal treatment guidelines will be co-developed with local paraveterinarians to strengthen capacity in diagnosis and treatment of the most common farm animal cases, achieved through hands-on, field-based training.

“COMBAT-AMR has contracted the services of Dr Harriet Thornton, a veterinarian who has been working in Samoa to support the Animal Protection Society and provide clinical support to the MAF paraveterinarians,” says University of Melbourne Professor Glenn Browning, COMBAT-AMR Animal Health theme lead.

Dr Thornton, who studied veterinary medicine at Bristol University, will be supported by microbiologists, veterinarians and epidemiologists from the University of Melbourne and Massey University, New Zealand.

“Training will be very hands-on with the paraveterinarians, focused on diagnosing illnesses, identifying those animals requiring antibiotic treatment, and determining appropriate doses and approaches to administration of antibiotics.”

In addition to diagnosis and the appropriate use of antibiotics, the training will include the enhancement of case records and subsequent analysis to monitor the types of antibiotics and dose rates used, and to record clinical details of farm animal cases treated with antibiotics.

Together with maintaining records of antibiotics imported into Samoa for use in animals, this will support the surveillance and stewardship of antimicrobial use in animals in Samoa. COMBAT-AMR will work with local paraveterinarians to analyse farm animal treatment records for several months after their training, which will provide the opportunity to evaluate any changes in paraveterinarians’ use of antibiotics following the training and provision of treatment guidelines, and to identify any requirement for updates to the guidelines and refresher training.

While the activities in the workplan are primarily focused on farm animals, the workplan will also help improve responsible antibiotic use in pet animals. The COMBAT AMR animal health team will work in collaboration with the Animal Protection Society of Samoa to survey pet owners to understand details of antibiotic use in pets at home and factors that can improve the pet owners’ use of the Animal Protection Society small animal veterinary clinic. The planned outcome of this work is to improve the services of the Animal Protection Society veterinary clinic and develop awareness materials to encourage pet owners to treat their pets with medicines under veterinary supervision.