Plan to fight antibiotic resistance unveiled

Minister Edith Schippers of Public Health has made agreements with parties in healthcare to curb improper use of antibiotics and instead focus on infection prevention. This is an extra effort in the fight against antibiotics resistance. 

The Minister also made arrangements on research into new antibiotics, treatments medical technology and alternatives to antibiotics. Action will also be taken in the fields of animals, food and environment to combat antibiotic resistant bacteria. This is according to a letter sent to the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, by Schippers, Martin van Rijn of Public Health, Sharon Dijksma of Economic Affairs and Wilma Mansveld of Infrastructure and Environment on Thursday.

The main concern is that the regular use of antibiotics make more and more bacteria resistant to its effects. This will eventually result in diseases that are easily cured today becoming life threatening in the future.

Involved care providers have set a number of goals in a multi year agenda to prevent this. These parties will work on ensuring a 50 percent decrease in the number of avoidable healthcare-associated infections in 5 years, a reduction of at least 50 percent in the use of incorrectly prescribed antibiotics and delaying the emergence and spread of multi resistant bacteria. There will also be more international cooperation to combat the development and spread of antibiotic resistance. The healthcare providers will also work to make sure the number of infections and deaths in the Netherlands due to antibiotic resistance remains at the same level or decreases.

The Ministers believe that new antibiotics, alternative treatments and innovations in the field of infection prevention are essential in the fight against antibiotic resistance. Efforts are being made to strengthen the research infrastructure in these fields.

Veterinarians also pledged to further reduce the use of antibiotics in livestock farming by 70 percent in 2015 compered to 2009. Last year a reduction of 58.1 percent was already achieved. The Ministries of Public Health and Economic Affairs will also work with the involved parties on follow up policies aimed at reducing the risk of bacteria becoming resistant.

The Ministers also launched additional research on the spread of resistant bacteria to humans through food and the environment.

An important tool in fighting antibiotic resistance is informing the public of the dangers. A number of information campaigns have been arranged and information about antibiotic resistance and how to prevent the spreading of resistant bacteria is already available on the central government's website as well as the RIVM website.