Antimicrobial resistance a global health: WHO representative

 
December 08, 2021

FAISALABAD: The majority of the world’s annual 5.7 million antibiotic-treatable deaths occur in low and middle income countries where the mortality burden from treatable bacterial infections...

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FAISALABAD: The majority of the world’s annual 5.7 million antibiotic-treatable deaths occur in low and middle income countries where the mortality burden from treatable bacterial infections exceeds the estimated annual 700,000 deaths from antibiotic-resistant infections.

This was stated by speakers at the international symposium on antimicrobial resistance arranged by Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.

Chairing the inauguration session, WHO representative Dr Palitha Mahipala said that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) was a global health and development threat, requiring urgent action to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He said that AMR occurs naturally over time, usually through genetic changes. Antimicrobial resistant organisms were found in people, animals, food, plants and the environment (in water, soil and air). The main drivers of antimicrobial resistance include the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials, lack of access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene for humans and animals, poor infection and disease prevention and control in health-care facilities and farms, poor access to quality, affordable medicines, vaccines and diagnostics and lack of awareness and knowledge.

He said that the WHO had launched the Global Antimicrobial Resistance and Use Surveillance System (GLASS) in 2015 to continue filling knowledge gaps and to inform strategies at all levels. GLASS had been conceived to progressively incorporate data from surveillance of AMR in humans, surveillance of the use of antimicrobial medicines, AMR in the food chain and in the environment.

He said that medical errors were a global health issue and challenge, which lead to deaths annually worldwide. The WHO had come up with a Global Patient Safety Action Plan, which provides guidelines and safety measures to reduce practices that lead to harms to patients, he added.

UAF Pro Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Anas Sarwar Qureshi said that AMR was one of the top 10 global public health threats to humanity. He said that one better approach brings together multiple sectors and stakeholders engaged in human, terrestrial and aquatic animal and plant health, food and feed production and the environment to communicate and work together in the design and implementation of programmes, policies, legislation and research to attain better public health outcomes.

He said that misuse and overuse of antimicrobials were the main drivers in the development of drug-resistant pathogens. He said that lack of clean water and sanitation and inadequate infection prevention and control promote the spread of microbes and some of which can be resistant to anti-microbial treatment.

Institute of Microbiology Director Dr Sajjadur Rehman said that for common bacterial infections, including urinary tract infections, and some forms of diarrhea, high rates of resistance against antibiotics frequently used to treat these infections had been observed worldwide, indicating that we were running out of effective antibiotics. Prof Dr Timothy R Walsh from University of Oxford said that dreadful sanitation, uncontrolled use of antibiotics and overcrowding coupled with monitoring problem was causing anti-biotic resistance.



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