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Rethinking Of Antimicrobial Decision-systems in the Management of Animal Production

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ROADMAP (Rethinking Of Antimicrobial Decision-systems in the Management of Animal Production)

Reporting period: 2019-06-01 to 2020-11-30

ROADMAP will foster transitions towards prudent antimicrobial use (AMU) in animal production in a large variety of contexts, by favouring a rethinking of antimicrobial decision-systems all along the food supply chain. Even if it is possible to learn from successful experiences, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to reduce AMU but various strategies working according to local conditions, defined by social, economic, technical and institutional variables.
ROADMAP will develop innovative conceptual approaches within a transdisciplinary and multi-actor perspective to engage with animal health professionals, stakeholders and policy-makers. It will adapt, combine and produce tailored strategies to reduce AMU in diverse production systems in Europe and low- and middle-income countries (pig, poultry and cattle sectors). Main objectives of ROADMAP are 1) to understand why and how AMU varies according to local contexts, by studying knowledge, practice and behaviours of farmers, veterinarians and upstream and downstream industries of the food supply chain; 2) to develop innovative socioeconomic and technical instruments to foster prudent AMU adapted to various production systems, by co-designing integrative strategies with animal health professionals and stakeholders; 3) to evaluate ROADMAP solutions and ensure their impact. Innovative communication, dissemination and exploitation tools will be implemented to reach a large community of end-users.
ROADMAP will identify levers and incentives to encourage AMU change, by providing 1) scenarios and recommendations for efficient transitions towards prudent AMU and 2) solutions socially acceptable but also technically and economically feasible. ROADMAP will therefore contribute to the fight against antimicrobial resistance by allowing cross-learning from diverse successful experiences, encouraging a harmonization of AMU reduction trends across Europe and thus favouring a global decrease of AMU in animal production.
ROADMAP has started in June 2019 and has already achieved an important number of intermediary objectives. Generally speaking, we are still in a period of data collection; most of the data processing tasks will start in 2021.
Regarding the economic analysis, the methodological protocols have been established in due time. Data collection is under way and shall be complete in 2021. Intermediary analysis has been performed by partners from their local data, and transversal analysis of all the case-studies involved will be performed in 2022.
Regarding the sociological analysis, the methodological protocols have been established in due time. Qualitative data collection in the different case-studies is underway. There were a few months delay due to CoVid restrictions, but the collection is expected to be completed in 2021, and the analysis will begin straight after. Quantitative data will also be collected in 2021. The design of the survey has been worked through all along 2020 with several steps and feedback-loops between partners. An important literature review has also been performed in 2020.
Participative approaches are being implemented through our Living Labs and our impact assessment methods. All the methodological protocols have been established in due time, and several important literature reviews have been performed on the Living Labs and on impact assessment protocols, in order to adapt the existing knowledge to the AMR topic and to ROADMAP’s objectives. The Living Labs have started in almost all case-studies, with a few months of delay due to CoVid restrictions.
Regarding the evaluation of our strategies to promote prudent use of AMU, all the methodological protocols have been established in due time. An important literature review has been performed, and first results have been submitted at the end of November 2020.
Dissemination and communication activities have also started, and have been adapted to the Covid restrictions. ROADMAP’s website and social networks have been established since the first year of the project and are working very well. We are relying on these tools even more according to the circumstances. The SAB has also been assembled and met virtually on October 2020. A series of materials and communication tools have been produced, such as leaflets and videos to present the project to various stakeholders.
Project management and supervision is going well, both from a scientific and a financial/administrative point. Extra work has been carried out to manage the CoVid crisis and adapt the project to travel restrictions. Regular meetings with ExCom are organized to follow up the implementation of the project, three General Assemblies have been organised (including an additional one in February 2020) and several subgroups will be created in 2021 to fulfil the project needs (such as a project internal seminar and a steering committee for dissemination).
ROADMAP’s ambitious objectives have not changed. Applying innovative approaches to the topic of AMR will bring substantial results and impact, in particular through the systemic and dynamic framework (food- and drug- chain approach, and transition studies) that we have chosen to bring new light on the AMR issue.
First, we aim to show how the structure of food and drug markets is a decisive determinant of antibiotic use (i.e. stakeholders behaviours), as well as the political and institutional factors. Our preliminary results in some case-studies show interesting outcomes demonstrating how much the actors of the production and distribution channels of veterinary drugs, as well as the regulatory bodies, have a strong impact on how antibiotics are prescribed, sold and used. It will potentially prove that AMR policy should focus more on these levels of the drug chain than just the final users. We also have preliminary results in some case-studies showing the important role of large producers’ organisations and more broadly of the agri-food industry in the implementation of antibiotic stewardship programmes. All of this goes beyond the existing literature and will hopefully be confirmed (and then published) in the next stages of the project, with complementary data and, more importantly, with transversal analysis.
Second, the participative approach that we chose in this project also reaches great expectations. The Living Labs methodology should bring very innovative outcomes in how engaging with stakeholders and animal health professionals, in a way which is not just a top-down sort of communication which has proved its limits so far. It is nevertheless a bit too early so far to anticipate our results in this area since our Living Labs have had some months of delay due to the CoVid restrictions.
All in all, we believe in the strong potential of the project, both for scientific and socioeconomic impact since our results would be translated into recommendations for stakeholders and potential tools for their implementation.
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