The European Union and the United States are currently introducing measures to control resistance, and various national and international surveillance systems are being set up. A lack of acknowledged methods allowing for a representative picture of this phenomenon is one of their weak spots.
In October 1999 the EARSS (European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System), which is financed by the European Union, published the first results of a feasibility study. The report stresses the importance of adequate methods.
The INSPEAR programme (International Network for the Study and Prevention of Emerging Antimicrobial Resistance) is co-ordinated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta, USA) and seeks to establish offshoots in Europe. Its aim is to introduce an early resistance detection system that would make rapid intervention and analysis of the risk of emerging resistance possible.
The World Health Organisation has confirmed that the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance is a serious problem world-wide, and one that affects both developed and developing countries. According to WHO, the steps to be taken in order to slow down the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance should be implemented at several levels, i.e. its surveillance, the education of prescribers, other health care professionals and of the general public, regulations (including regulations to combat disregard for ethical criteria in antibiotics promotion) and research (including the investigation of resistance mechanisms, of how they spread and of the development of compounds that act on new targets).
The WHO launched its Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring (ARM) programme with a view to helping its Member States to confront the hazards arising from this phenomenon, in particular the developing countries. ARM aims to set up an electronic worldwide "web of webs" (WHONET) to collect and pool all the information provided by the national and regional resistance surveillance networks. WHO expects all of its Member States to co-operate in the ARM programme, and thus contribute to the fight against the rise of resistance to antibiotics.
This new NRP represents Switzerland`s counterpart to what is being done abroad at the request of the WHO. It will provide specific responses to the situation in our country, all the while co-operating at international level (in particular with the EU), since bacteria don`t respect borders!