UN declares drug resistance a global threat to humanity

Accreditation Insider, September 27, 2016

Want to receive articles like this one in your inbox? Subscribe to Accreditation Insider!

The fight against antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) infections has become a hot topic in 2016, and the United Nations (UN) has now joined the fray. This year, The Joint Commission and CMS making antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASP) mandatory for all healthcare facilities. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, 74 drug makers, 11 diagnostic test manufacturers, and nine industry groups signed “The “Declaration on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance.” Two different disease strains were found to be resistant to the “last-resort” antibiotic colistin.

During the 71st session of the UN General Assembly in New York City last week, the world’s governments discussed the increasing dangers posed by AMR infections and doubled down on the need for national and international AMR action plans. This makes AMR infections the fourth health issue in history to be taken up by the U.N. General Assembly after HIV, noncommunicable diseases, and Ebola.

"Antimicrobial resistance threatens the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and requires a global response," said H.E. Peter Thomson, president of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly, in an address to delegates. "Member states have today agreed upon a strong political declaration that provides a good basis for the international community to move forward. No one country, sector, or organization can address this issue alone."

During the assembly, countries reiterated their commitment to create national AMR action plans using the "Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance" that was developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the World Organization for Animal Health. They also pledged stricter regulation of antimicrobials, increased education on AMR and antibiotics, promoting best AMR practices, and increased research into new antibiotics and treatment methods.

"Antimicrobial resistance poses a fundamental threat to human health, development, and security. The commitments made today must now be translated into swift, effective, lifesaving actions across the human, animal, and environmental health sectors. We are running out of time," said Margaret Chan, MD, director-general of WHO.

Two million Americans are infected annually infected by antimicrobial-resistant infections, with 23,000 people dying as a direct result of their infections. Worldwide, AMR infections are expected to kill up to 10 million annually by 2050. Antibiotic resistance has been spread to the overuse and misuse of antibiotics in both humans and livestock, with common ailments such as pneumonia, gonorrhea, malaria, and tuberculosis becoming harder to treat.


Want to receive articles like this one in your inbox? Subscribe to Accreditation Insider!

Most Popular