Four Minnesota Agencies Form Partnership To Improve Antibiotic Usage
Four state agencies launched a five-year plan on Friday. The goal: to unite partners in public health, health care, agribusiness and environmental protection against the overuse of antibiotics.
The new organization, called the One Health Minnesota Antibiotic Stewardship Collaborative, is led by the state’s Department of Health, Department of Agriculture, Board of Animal Health and Pollution Control Agency.
In a release, the Department of Health said this is not only the first time all four agencies have worked together on antibiotic resistance, but also the first-ever strategic plan of its kind in Minnesota.
“Unless we can find ways to preserve the effectiveness of the antibiotics we have and slow the development of [bacterial] resistance to new antibiotics, we may again see increased number of illnesses and death,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger. “[Antibiotic] effectiveness can and must be preserved. This can be done through judicious use and diligent stewardship.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotic-resistant bacteria cause 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths each year.
To establish an agenda, One Health created a list of goals and associated activities that it believes will improve individual’s perception of antibiotic usage. The organization lists that as follows:
- To promote understanding of One Health antibiotic stewardship across disciplines. Activities will focus on sharing experiences among those who work or practice in human, animal and environmental health using online tools, interactive learning and team building.
- To improve human antibiotic stewardship efforts by developing goals, a roadmap and incentives for healthcare facilities to develop stewardship programs.
- To improve animal antibiotic stewardship efforts by supporting national efforts on antibiotic use data collection and goal-setting, livestock farmer quality certification programs, the veterinary feed directive, lab testing and resources for those working with companion animals.
- To improve understanding of environmental issues by developing a tool to measure or describe the impact of antibiotics on the environment and to advocate for environmentally-friendly antibiotic disposal.
Ultimately, the organization said its hopes to mediate antibiotic usage, not eliminate it altogether.
“We’re not saying don’t use antibiotics,” said Dr. Ruth Lynfield, state epidemiologist and medical director for the Minnesota Department of Health. “We’re saying use them appropriately, avoiding overuse and misuse.”