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24 April 2012
World Veterinary Day (WVD) takes place annually on the last Saturday of April and this year vets from around the world join together on April 28 to raise concerns about antimicrobial resistance and to highlight the importance of the responsible use of antimicrobials.
Bob Stevenson, the BVA representative on the World Veterinary Association (WVA) and European Councillor, explained:
“Each World Veterinary Day theme is decided months in advance of the actual day itself. From the perspective of our global organisation, the WVA, to the individual veterinarian treating an animal, there can be no more crucial theme as that selected for 2012.
“Regional guidance and national guidance on responsible use of antimicrobial medicines are easily accessible. A terrific example is the BVA’s 8-point plan for responsible use of antimicrobials in veterinary practice. However, more species-specific guidance on best practice protocols are needed. We must all implement such guidance in our day to day work in order that the veterinary profession continues to be the recognised custodians of animal health as well as concerned professionals for human health. World Veterinary Day 2012 provides a critical wake up call for all veterinarians worldwide.”
Last October in Cape Town the WVA held a summit on antimicrobial resistance. BVA President Elect, Peter Harlech Jones, gave a presentation on the veterinary perspective on responsible use. Looking to the future and what the global veterinary profession can do to help, Peter stressed that every vet must be made aware of the problem; every vet should be held accountable for which antimicrobial is used; every vet must accept constraints on the use of certain classes of antimicrobials; and every professional association must communicate better the need for veterinary antimicrobials.
Antimicrobials have revolutionised medical and veterinary practice since their introduction over 60 years ago. Today they are essential for the treatment and prevention of infectious and zoonotic diseases in both animals and humans.
Interest in antimicrobial resistance shows no sign of abating and in many countries and regions of the world this issue is being discussed - but political efforts to tackle resistance are focusing particularly on the use of antimicrobials in animals, when effort is needed across the board.
This subject is high on the BVA’s agenda and in welcoming this year’s World Veterinary Day, BVA President Carl Padgett said:
“Antimicrobial resistance is a global problem that needs urgent action. A coordinated approach under the ‘One Health’ banner is needed to tackle resistance worldwide and I am delighted that this crucially important issue has been designated as the theme for this year’s World Veterinary Day.
“Antimicrobial resistance is a very serious problem for both human and animal health. As veterinary surgeons - no matter where in the world we live and work - we have a duty to use these medicines responsibly for the good of animal health and welfare, as well as public health.
“Preserving the efficacy of antimicrobials for use in people is vital, but the fact remains that they are also needed to treat animals. Antibiotics are a vital tool in our armoury to combat animal diseases and the global veterinary profession must ensure they are used prudently and responsibly if we are to avoid a crisis.
“We preach a clear message of responsible use. In both the human and veterinary worlds we must use these vital medicines responsibly, or risk losing them completely.”
Antimicrobial resistance will be discussed at this year’s BVA Congress (to be held in Liverpool from September 28 to 29) in a debate that will consider the issues from both a veterinary and public health perspective.