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Interpretation of China’s National Action Plan to Contain Antimicrobial Resistance (2016-2020)


Updated: 2016-08-26

Recently, 14 departments include National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) and National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) jointly published and circulated China’s National Action Plan to Contain Antimicrobial Resistance (2016-2020) (hereafter referred to as the Action Plan). The main points are summarized and interpreted as follows:   

I. The background 

Antimicrobials are widely used in healthcare and animal husbandry. They play a significant role in treating infections and saving patient lives, preventing and treating animal diseases, improving farming efficiency, and guaranteeing public health security. However, antimicrobial resistance has become increasingly prominent due to multiple factors, as a result, antimicrobial agents may lose potency overtime and multi-drug resistant bacteria that no drugs could be found to treat may emerge. Antimicrobial resistance has imposed a grand challenge to global public health and attracted wide attention from home and abroad. International organizations such as World Health Organization (WHO), World Organization for Animal Health (Office international des epizooties, OIE), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), countries and regions like the USA, the European Union and the UK all take positive approach to the threats.  China has called several conferences to discuss the issue of antimicrobial resistance during our G20 Presidency. 

In recent years, the National Health and Family Planning Commission and the Ministry of Agriculture have done a lot in the management of antibacterial agents and achieved good results. However, both the factors contributing to antimicrobial resistance and the consequences involve multiple domains and different departments. If immediate actions are not taken to control the situation, human beings will be again under threat from infectious diseases. It may also produce adverse effects such as increasing biosecurity threats, worsening environmental pollution, constraining economic development, etc. Thus, there is an urgent need to strengthen multi-sectoral and multi-domain collaborative planning to jointly cope with this issue. 

Therefore, 14 departments, including National Health and Family Planning Commission , National Development and Reform Commission, the ministry of Education,  the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Land and Resources, the Ministry of Environmental Protection , the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Culture, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television , China Food and Drug Administration, the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Health Bureau of CMC Logistic Support Department, extensively solicited the opinions from all sides and invite experts to make National Action Plan to Contain Antimicrobial Resistance (2016-2020). The Action Plan aims to establish comprehensive management strategies and measures at the national level, so as to effectively contain antimicrobial resistance, protect the health of our people and promote sustainable economic and social development. 

II. Main contents of the Action Plan 

There are four parts in the Action Plan: Introduction, Goals, Major strategies and actions, and Supporting and guaranteeing measures. The main contents are as follows: 

1. Goals 

Clear goals are established in the Action Plan. In order to deal with the challenge of antimicrobial resistance, the Action Plan aims to implement comprehensive management strategies and measures at the national level to strengthen the supervision of the search and development, production, circulation, application, and environmental protection for the antimicrobial agents, promoting public awareness education and international exchanges and cooperation. By 2020, specific objectives will be achieved in the following six aspects: development of new antimicrobials, sales with prescription, surveillance and evaluation, clinical application, use of veterinary drugs, and training and education. 

2. Major strategies and actions 

The Action Plan defines the responsibilities for each department and sets forth the major strategies and actions for the prevention and control of antimicrobial resistance in the following nine aspects: 1) taking full advantage of joint prevention and control, and fulfilling the responsibilities; 2) increasing investment in the research and development of antimicrobials; 3) strengthening the management of antimicrobial supply guarantee; 4) strengthening the construction of the application and drug-resistance control system for antimicrobials; 5) optimizing antimicrobials consumption and antimicrobial resistance surveillance system; 6) improving the capacity of professional personnel in antimicrobial resistance prevention and control; 7) strengthening the prevention and control of environmental pollution of antimicrobials; 8) strengthening publicity and education of antimicrobial resistance; 9) conducting extensive international exchanges and cooperation. Specific measures are proposed in each part and responsibilities are assigned clearly for each department, ensuring the effective implementation of the Action Plan. 

3. Supporting and guaranteeing measures 

The Action Plan clearly states that investment in drug-resistance control related facilities, equipment and personnel training should be increased. It also proposes to set up National Consultative Expert Commission, providing consultation and policy recommendations for the management of antibacterial agents and the containment of antimicrobial resistance. Requirements are put forward for the local authorities in the supervision and inspection, and the fulfillment of objectives.


Link: China's Central Government / World Health Organization / United Nations Population Fund / UNICEF in China

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