Antibiotic Awareness Week – What the UN says about taking action against resistance

As the global concern over antibiotic resistance grows, more and more world organizations are weighing in on the need for action in the fight against resistance. This Antibiotic Awareness Week, we’re highlighting some of the key points addressed by the UN General Assembly at their High Level Meeting on AMR held earlier this fall. 

On September 21, 2016 in New York, the 71st UN General Assembly held a high-level meeting addressing the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance. This meeting yielded a political declaration which focused on some of the key causes of antibiotic resistance and listed actions to be taken on every level to prevent the progression of this global crisis.

At this meeting, the UN determined that their guide for fighting resistance would be the action plan mapped out by the WHO in coordination with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Organization for Animal Health. They also concluded that the growth of antibiotic resistance can be attributed largely to the following: “the inappropriate use of antimicrobial medicines in the public health, animal, food, agriculture and aquaculture sectors; lack of access to health services, including diagnostics and lab capacity; and antimicrobial residues into soil, crops, and water…”

Antibiotic resistance, as noted by the UN in their political declaration, greatly limits the options of those who are more vulnerable to infectious and life threatening diseases (expectant mothers, infants, and patients already affected by chronic disease, as well as those undergoing chemotherapy or surgery) in terms of treatment.

Perhaps one of the most important points of the declaration is where the General Assembly recognized the next steps in the fight against antimicrobial resistance and listed them as the following :

  • Infection control and prevention in both humans and animals, including immunizations, monitoring and surveillance of AMR, and maintenance of clean water and healthy environments
  • Investment in health systems which can provide universal health coverage and help promote access to new and existing antimicrobial medicines, based if possible on diagnostic testing, vaccines and other therapies
  • Promotion of affordable and easily accessible health care
  • Increased investment in R&D including incentivizing innovation and improvement in the field of antibiotic development

To learn more about the conclusions of the UN General Assembly on AMR, read the full declaration here.

You may also be interested in attending the World Anti-Microbial Resistance Congress USA 2017, held September 14-15 in Washington, DC.

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