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One Health approach: The Netherlands brings together ministers of health and agriculture

Portrait of Minister Edith Schippers
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“Cooperation between the sectors is crucial – Let us move from words to deeds“, was Minister Schipper´s appeal at the ministerial Dutch EU Presidency conference on February, 10th in Amsterdam. For the first time in the history of the European Union, The Netherlands brought together ministers of health and ministers of agriculture to discuss the threat of antimicrobial resistance.

European countries are going to join forces to combat antimicrobial resistance in health care and veterinary sector. That is the outcome of a ministerial Dutch EU Presidency conference on February, 10th in Amsterdam. Minister Edith Schippers (Health, Welfare and Sport) and Minister Martijn van Dam (Agriculture) welcomed colleagues and experts from 28 EU member states.
Schippers warned that the world is at risk of losing one of the most precious medicines mankind ever had: “Let us move from words to deeds. Let us prevent the scenario in which we meet again in ten years time, admitting to each other that we failed.“ She made a strong case for more attention for infection prevention and careful use of antibiotics. She also stressed the need for development of new antibiotics and alternative treatments, and for improved diagnostics, so antibiotics can be applied as efficiently and sparingly as possible. Existing possibilities for European cooperation with cross border health threats must be used more appropriate.

Minister Van Dam called the conference to strongly reduce antibiotics in livestock farming that are critically important to humans. He also pointed out the importance of a joint approach: “We need not only cooperation between the health and veterinary sectors, but also between countries.”
Further discussion within Europe will take place in the next months.

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