Strengthening Multisectoral Coordination on Antimicrobial Resistance: A Landscape Analysis of Efforts in 11 Countries
Increasingly, there has been recognition that siloed approaches focusing mainly on human health are ineffective for global antimicrobial resistance (AMR) containment efforts. The inherent complexities of AMR containment warrant a coordinated multisectoral approach. However, how to institutionalize a country’s multisectoral coordination across sectors and between departments used to working in silos is an ongoing challenge. This paper describes the technical approach used by a donor-funded program to strengthen multisectoral coordination on AMR in 11 countries as part of their efforts to advance the objectives of the Global Health Security Agenda and discusses some of the challenges and lessons learned.
The program conducted a rapid situational analysis of the Global Health Security Agenda and AMR landscape in each country and worked with the governments to identify the gaps, priorities, and potential activities in multisectoral coordination on AMR. Using the World Health Organization (WHO) Joint External Evaluation tool and the WHO Benchmarks for International Health Regulations (2005) Capacities as principal guidance, we worked with countries to achieve key milestones in enhancing effective multisectoral coordination on AMR.
The program’s interventions led to the achievement of key benchmarks recommended actions, including the finalization of national action plans on AMR and tools to guide their implementation; strengthening the leadership, governance, and oversight capabilities of multisectoral governance structures; establishing and improving the functions of technical working groups on infection prevention and control and antimicrobial stewardship; and coordinating AMR activities within and across sectors.
A lot of learning still needs to be done to identify best practices for building mutual trust and adequately balancing the priorities of individual ministries with cross-cutting issues. Nevertheless, this paper provides some practical ideas for countries and implementing partners seeking to improve multisectoral coordination on AMR. It also demonstrates that the WHO benchmark actions, although not intended as an exhaustive list of recommendations, provide adequate guidance for increasing countries’ capacity for effective multisectoral coordination on AMR in a standardized manner.