The spring report of Auditor General Michael Ferguson has pointed out that the federal health authorities, including the Public Health Agency of Canada, have failed to do enough to protect the effectiveness of antimicrobial drugs and stop the spread of drug-resistant organisms. According to the report, the agencies have been unsuccessful in mobilizing all federal, provincial and territorial partners and other stakeholders in order to develop a national strategy to minimize the risks of the growing problem.
The auditor stated that the “federal action to help prevent drug-resistant infections has been inadequate,” adding that “data shows that some drug-resistant infections are on the rise in Canada. Already in hospitals alone about 18,000 Canadians contract resistant infections every year.” It was highlighted that the government initially promised to take action back in 1997, but still it has not managed to launch a coordinated national strategy till now. Moreover, the report said that not only has the agency failed to develop a strategy to confront the spread, it has failed to properly study and monitor the extent of resistance and antimicrobials use in Canada.
Although Ferguson admitted that the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada have taken steps to promote prudent anti-microbial use in humans, it has not done so for animals. Explaining his point of view, he alleged that “according to (Health Canada), the use of these drugs in food animals may have serious public health implications, including the development of antimicrobial resistance.”
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