Workshop on Monitoring of Quantities and usage pattern of antimicrobial agents in Animals in Bhutan

The Department of Livestock, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests in collaboration with the World Organisation for Animal Health  (OIE), Tokyo, Japan has organised two days’ workshop on Monitoring of Quantities and usage patterns of antimicrobial agents in Bhutan and a daylong seminar on Containment of antimicrobial resistance in the private livestock sectors in Bhutan from 25-27th December, 2019 at Terma Linca, Thimphu.

Bhutan has been reporting quantitative data on the total amount of antimicrobials used in animals for the last three years to the OIE. However, there are still challenges faced in collecting, maintaining and analysing for assessing the risk of AMR in the country and also submitting good quality AMU data to the OIE. Therefore, DoL needed to strengthen its capacity to collect, manage, analyse the AMU data which is essential to identify possible risk factors that could lead to the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in animals and in humans. To implement the NAP on AMR, specifically in terms of initiating the AMU surveillance system in Bhutan, the above workshop was conceptualised.

The main objectives of the workshop was to provide all relevant stakeholders a platform to understand the current legislations, policies, governance structure for regulation of AMU in animal, fisheries, agriculture, and food sector;  understand the roles of different government agencies in the regulation of antimicrobials used in animals in terms of drug registration, import, production, distribution, monitoring, export; understand the current state of play by the private sector and other sectors for monitoring of AMU in the livestock and aquaculture industries, pharmaceutical industries, veterinary practices and identify the sources of AMU data for animals available with the various government agencies and private sector and identify the gaps and linkages of these data sources in the data collection systems

At the end of workshop, it is expected that the Department of Livestock will be in a position to develop a national AMU monitoring system appropriate to the country for monitoring of the quantities and usage patterns of antimicrobial agents used in animals. Further, it is aimed that the AMU data will be integrated with the AMR surveillance data for development of AMU/AMR policies and strategies and recommendations for prudent and responsible use of antimicrobials in animals. It is expected that the relevant stakeholders in Bhutan will work together to develop a national AMU monitoring system for animals that will provide the AMU data to understand the AMR situation in the country and accordingly develop measures to address AMR.

The three days’ workshop was graced by Dr Tashi Samdup, Director General of the Department of Livestock, who is also the Vice-President of the OIE Regional Commission for Asia and the Pacific. A total of 55 participants including representatives from the OIE Regional Representation for Asia and the Pacific (RRAP) office in Tokyo;  WHO country office;  officials from Department of Livestock, MoAF; Ministry of Health; Drug Regulatory Authority; Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan; representatives from importers, distributors and retailers of veterinary medicines;  livestock farmers (poultry/piggery and dairy) from Sarpang and Thimphu Dzongkhags attended the workshop. The three days’ workshop was organised with technical and financial support from the OIE RRAP, Tokyo, with local logistics support of the Department of Livestock, MoAF.

Submitted by: – AHD, DOL