National strategic plan for combating antimicrobial resistance in Sri Lanka

End term review of the national strategic plan for combating antimicrobial resistance in Sri Lanka 2017-2022 and developing the national strategic plan for combating antimicrobial resistance 2023-2027

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been recognized as a major global public health threat and now it is understood as a threat across many sectors including human health, terrestrial and aquatic animal health, agriculture, food production, food safety and environment. Alert to this crisis, World Health Assembly in May 2015 adopted a global action plan on antimicrobial resistance, underscoring the need for an effective “One Health” approach. The goal of the global action plan is to ensure, for as long as possible, continuity of successful treatment and prevention of infectious diseases with effective and safe medicines that are quality-assured, used in a responsible way, and accessible to all who need them.

To achieve this goal, the global action plan sets out five strategic objectives:

(1) to improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance;

(2) to strengthen knowledge through surveillance and research;

(3) to reduce the incidence of infection;

(4) to optimize the use of antimicrobial agents; and

(5) to ensure sustainable investment in countering antimicrobial resistance.

All Member States were urged to have national action plans on antimicrobial resistance that are aligned with the global action plan in place, within two years of the endorsement of the action plan by the Health Assembly. Accordingly the national strategic plan for combating antimicrobial resistance (NSP-AMR) in Sri Lanka (2017-2022) was launched in 2017. The deputy Director General (Laboratory Services), Ministry of Health was identified as the national focal point for this activity.

At the end of the 5 years from 2017-2023, an end-term review is planned to assess the progress of the implementation of the NSP-AMR. Further, development of a national action plan for the next 5 years (2023-2027) also is required based on the findings and recommendations of the end term review. This activity is planned by the national focal point and supported by the WHO.

A team of consultants representing the Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists and coordinators from One Health sectors have been selected in April 2023 to conduct the end term review and development of the new NSP. The consultancy team is led by Dr. Dhammika Vidanagama and includes Dr. Jayanthi Elwitigala, Dr. Roshan Jayasuriya, Dr. Dhananja Namalie, Dr. Madhumanee Abeywardena, Dr. Thushari Dissanayake and Dr. Sumudu Suranadee. The activity is currently on-going and it is expected to be completed by August 2023.