International cooperation on antibiotic resistance

Compared to other countries, antibiotic resistance is fairly rare in Dutch health care. So the fewer superbugs there are in neighbouring countries, the better it is for the Netherlands. The government has introduced a successful approach to antibiotic resistance in livestock farming. It is sharing the Dutch experience with other countries, so that they can adopt effective measures too.

Antibiotic resistance: an international problem

In some European countries, people can buy antibiotics without a prescription. This often leads to incorrect or unnecessary antibiotic use. And this makes it easy for bacteria to develop into multidrug-resistant superbugs.

Antibiotic resistance is much worse outside Europe. The antibiotics used in developing countries are often substandard or even fake. To save money, many patients do not take the full course of antibiotics. As a result, the bacteria causing their infection are not completely killed. The surviving bacteria adapt and become resistant to the antibiotic.

International effort against multidrug-resistant bacteria

The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a Global Action Plan on antimicrobial resistance. One of the actions is to chart antibiotic use and superbug infections around the world. The Netherlands is supporting the plan financially.

The United States has drawn up a Global Health Security Agenda and has asked other countries to help carry it out. The Netherlands is contributing knowledge and best practices. For instance, its experience in reducing antibiotic use in the livestock industry.

Dutch EU Presidency will highlight antibiotic resistance

The government has made antibiotic resistance one of the priority issues of the Dutch Presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2016. The Netherlands will work at EU level to further cut back antibiotics use in health care and livestock farming.