Armenia Slowing the Spread of Antimicrobial Resistance

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a public health concern in Armenia, as it is in many other nations throughout the world. The country has made steps to prevent the spread of AMR by developing a national action plan in 2015 and clinical recommendations in 2020. 

Armenia has been making significant progress in combating AMR prior to the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. Antibiotic use in Armenia, on the other hand, grew dramatically in 2020, with overall consumption exceeding that of 2011 when the greatest rate of consumption since 2002 was reported. 

This is due to the fact that some patients self-treated, utilized leftover antibiotics, failed to follow the dosage instructions, or over-extended the length of treatment. Physicians’ poor prescribing habits were also a concern. All of these causes hasten the deterioration of already scarce antimicrobials’ efficacy.  

In light of this, the Ministry of Health developed clinical guidelines for primary health care providers in 2020, with the help of WHO, on the management and treatment of a variety of common infections, including pneumonia, sore throat, urinary tract infections, ear infections in children, and respiratory infections like COVID-19. 

These guidelines are significant because they help primary health care providers standardize decision-making in the delivery of care, eliminate uncertainty in the selection and use of treatment regimens, and improve patient care quality. They also lower the likelihood of individuals obtaining antibiotic treatment for diseases that may not require it. 

Following the publication of the guidelines, 1600 general practitioners, family doctors, and pediatricians were educated to use them in their daily practices across Armenia. The main goal of the training was to encourage healthcare providers, particularly those in the “Watch” and “Reserve” categories, to prevent illogical antibiotic prescriptions. 

Armenia has been fighting AMR for almost a decade. Armenia established a national policy for AMR surveillance and prevention, as well as the National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance 2015–2020, based on WHO recommendations from 2012. 

Since 2015, when a lot of the strategy’s initiatives were implemented, the total use of various antimicrobial drugs has been declining — until COVID-19 arrived. 

Armenia is currently developing a new AMR surveillance and prevention strategy, as well as an updated action plan for the years 2023–2027. The “One Health” idea is used in this plan, which also includes the animal health and environmental sectors. Importantly, the new strategy will be implemented jointly, as will the development of tools and methods for monitoring and evaluating the planned One Health initiatives.