Combating Antimicrobial Resistance in Argentina: Legislation for the Future

Posted on by Guest Authors: Laura Barcelona, Lauren Dempsey, Rachel Smith
Four people sit at a conference table. One holds up a copy of the new Argentina law to combat AR while the others applaud.
On October 3, 2023, representatives from Argentina’s Ministry of Health, CoNaCRA, PAHO, the Argentina Infectious Disease Society, and CDC, among others met to formalize Argentina’s National Action Plan to Combat AR and to formalize CoNaCRA as the committee to reduce AR in Argentina.

Argentina’s Ministry of Health is implementing the first legislation in South America using a One Health framework to combat antimicrobial resistance (AR), representing Argentina’s commitment to combating AR. Argentina is also participating in CDC’s Global Action in Healthcare Network (GAIHN) to strengthen the capacity to detect, prevent, and respond to AR.

History and Development of Argentina’s National Action Plan to Combat AR

In 2019, the World Health Organization declared AR to be one of the top public health threats facing humanity and a threat to advances made possible by modern medicine. The COVID-19 pandemic, which put great stress on healthcare systems, resulted in increases in AR globally.

Recognizing this serious threat to public health, Argentina had established CoNaCRA, the Comisión Nacional de Control de la Resistencia Antimicrobiana (the National Commision for Control of Antimicrobial Resistance) in 2015 to advance Argentina’s national strategy to control AR. In 2020, the Minister of Health asked CoNaCRA to assist in the creation and development of a new law for AR prevention and control.

CoNaCRA consulted with multiple stakeholders with diverse perspectives, including infectious disease specialists, healthcare workers, colleges of pharmacy and veterinary medicine, the pharmaceutical industry, and civic organizations. A bill was drafted based on input from these stakeholders, and in 2022 both chambers of the National Congress of Argentina unanimously passed the bill into law.

This law contains the National Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Antimicrobial Resistance, which includes multiple approaches to prevent and control AR through a One Health lens:

  • Implementation of prevention activities related to control of AR in healthcare settings
  • Changes to sale, advertising, and promotion of antibiotics
  • Limiting the spread of AR in animal health and agri-food production
  • Strengthening communication, education, innovation, and awareness around AR and antibiotic use

On October 3, 2023, the Argentina National Action Plan to Combat AR was formalized and CoNaCRA was formalized as the committee to reduce AR in Argentina.

How CDC is Working with Argentina to Implement the National Action Plan

CDC’s International Infection Control Branch is working hand-in-hand with CoNaCRA and the Malbran Institute (the Argentine Ministry of Health’s National AR Reference Laboratory and National Institute of Epidemiology) to implement Argentina’s National Action Plan to Combat AR. One way that CDC is supporting implementation is through GAIHN, part of CDC’s Global Antimicrobial Resistance Laboratory and Response Network.

GAIHN is a global collaborative network consisting of countries, institutions, and partners at global, regional, national, and subnational levels working together to address emerging AR threats in healthcare settings through rapid detection, prevention, and response. Argentina is at the forefront of implementing GAIHN in Latin America.

Through this collaboration four new laboratory methods were introduced, and laboratory workflows were streamlined to improve speed and sensitivity of AR detection in the participating GAIHN hospitals. This collaboration is helping to more quickly identify patients colonized with concerning types of antimicrobial-resistant organisms, allowing prompt action to help prevent spread to others.

By using local data, Argentina’s Ministry of Health can monitor current or emerging AR threats, prioritize prevention measures, and define what level of response is needed to contain the spread of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens.

Learn more about what CDC is doing globally to detect, prevent, and respond to AR.

Guest Authors:

Laura Barcelona, MD is an infectious disease physician and the National Focal Point for AR in Human Health in Argentina. She coordinates the appropriate use of antimicrobials at Argentina’s Ministry of Health and is president of CoNaCRA. She also heads the Infectious Disease Service at the public hospital Bernardo Houssay, Vicente Lopez, Buenos Aires, is a commission member for appropriate use of resources at the Infectious Disease Society of Argentina, and lectures in the Infectious Disease Department at the University of Buenos Aires.

Lauren Dempsey, MSPH is a Public Health Analyst and Presidential Management Fellow with a background in healthcare-associated infections. She is a member of the Program Strategy & Coordination Team in the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion (DHQP) at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. She is currently on rotation with DHQP’s International Infection Control Branch.

Rachel Mann Smith, MD, MPH is CDC’s Regional Advisor for Infection Prevention and Control and Antimicrobial Resistance in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Posted on by Guest Authors: Laura Barcelona, Lauren Dempsey, Rachel SmithTags , ,
Page last reviewed: December 14, 2023
Page last updated: December 14, 2023