5. April 2022

Combating antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial residues in the Zambian poultry sector


In response to the call made by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2015, Zambia developed its National Action Plan (NAP) in 2017. The NAP was informed by a 2016 Situational Analysis,
which looked at antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and antimicrobial use in the human, animal and plant sectors.

The Zambian NAP mirrored the WHO’s Global Action Plan with a focus on:

  • raising awareness and knowledge of AMR among practitioners and communities
  • strengthening surveillance and research
  • improving infection prevention and control (IPC) practices
  • improving optimisation of antimicrobial use (AMU)
  • making an investment case for diagnostics and new treatments

Zambia has made some strides in implementation of its AMR National Action Plan and the support from ICARS has come at an opportune time to augment the gains made so far in the fight against AMR.

Dr Anna Songolo, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock


While Zambia has made progress against AMR through implementing the NAP, there remain gaps. While some initiatives have been implemented to encourage farmers, veterinary personnel and agro-veterinary shop sellers to use antimicrobials in a more prudent manner. There are however no treatment guidelines for poultry diseases in Zambia to guide prescribing practices of veterinary professionals.

Growing consumer demand for poultry products in Zambia has however resulted in non-prudent antimicrobial use on farms, with the intent to prevent and treat poultry diseases, optimise growth, and maximise profits.

Antimicrobial use in poultry production is complex with several actors involved in prescribing, sales and use. To create change we must better understand these behaviors and suitably tailor interventions. This project will develop interventions to target and engage numerous actors, in order to have impact at the farm level to help contain and tackle AMR in Zambia.”

Erica Westwood, Implementation Research Advisor, ICARS

Project overview

The aim of this project is to optimise antimicrobial prescribing and use among the veterinary personnel, agrovets and farmers, to reduce unnecessary antimicrobial use and residues by at least 30% in intensively managed poultry over a period of 3 years.

The CAAZAP project will be implemented in three provinces of Zambia (Southern, Copperbelt and Lusaka), with four key objectives:

  1. to assess and improve knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) amongst key stakeholders
  2. to develop and disseminate treatment guidelines amongst veterinary doctors
  3. to assess antimicrobial use on farms and residue levels in poultry meat and eggs, as well as antimicrobials in feed
  4. to assess economic impact of implementation to inform policy and scaleup

The key interventions are to develop and disseminate novel treatment guidelines and, with training for the veterinarians, help improve poultry disease treatment regimes; and training, incentives, and sensitization that will target farmers, veterinary paraprofessionals, and agro-vet shop sellers to improve antimicrobial use, advice and selling practices.


Together, these interventions are intended to improve practices amongst antimicrobial users in the poultry value chain and provide measurable data to make a case to policy makers and community actors for sustaining and scaling up the programme. This project aims to support a wider impact of improving food safety in Zambia through reduced nonprudent antimicrobial use in food production.


Region: Africa

Sector: Food & Feed

Country: Zambia

Type: Project

Country partners: Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Central Veterinary Research Institute, University of Zambia, Veterinary Association of Zambia, Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority

Timescale: 1 May 2022 - 30 April 2025

ICARS funding: 558,168.72 USD

Lead Advisor

Erica Westwood
Mobile (+45) 30 89 69 31
Mail ericaw@icars-global.org