Rome/Nairobi/Geneva /Paris: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites no longer respond to antimicrobial agents. While antibiotics and other antimicrobials play a key role in the success of modern medicine and have greatly improved the health of humans and animals, their overuse and misuse have reduced their efficacy, with more pathogens developing the ability to survive the antimicrobials designed to eliminate them.
As a result of drug resistance, antibiotics and other antimicrobial agents become ineffective and infections become difficult or impossible to treat, increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.
An estimated 1.3 million people around the world die each year directly due to bacterial antimicrobial resistance. If no action is taken, that number could soar dramatically, bringing higher public health costs and pushing more people into poverty, especially in low-income countries, underscoring the need for the platform to mobilise further coordinated efforts.
“The climate crisis and AMR are two of the greatest and most complex threats the world currently faces. Both have been worsened by and can be improved with human action,” the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Inger Andersen, said.
Moreover, 1.3 billion people rely on livestock for their livelihoods and 20 million people depend on aquaculture, especially in low and middle-income countries. The spread of resistant strains of pathogens inexorably affects their livelihoods, as it increases animal suffering and losses. Applications to crops, as well as improper disposal of unused and expired drugs and waste from industries and communities can lead to pollution of soils and streams that spread the trigger for unwanted microorganisms to develop resistance to tools meant to contain and eliminate them.
To ensure the growing threats and impacts of antimicrobial resistance are addressed globally, an Antimicrobial Resistance Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Platform was launched today by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), known as the Quadripartite.
The new platform is a way to redouble collective efforts to save millions of lives and preserve the efficacy of antimicrobials for current and future generations by using them sustainably. It is expected to engage and empower stakeholders across the One Health spectrum in an inclusive, transparent way to build consensus among public and private stakeholders on the global AMR vision, gain knowledge to foster a collective understanding of AMR challenges and opportunities and take multi-stakeholder actions to contain, combat and reverse AMR in line with the Global Action Plan and National Action Plans.
Besides, the theme of this year’s World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, starting today, is “Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together” as drug-resistant infections can affect anyone, anywhere, public health, agrifood systems and ecosystems everywhere are at risk and hence tackling AMR is a shared responsibility for all.
“The world needs to join forces now to prevent drug-resistant diseases and reduce its implications,” FAO Director-General QU Dongyu said. “This platform will be vital in raising the profile and urgency of addressing AMR while building and maintaining political momentum and public support,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “It will help to drive global coordination so that our collective response is more strategic, resource-efficient and sustainable,” he added. “We can get ahead of AMR with the right partnerships and collaborative models. The time to act is now,” said WOAH Director General Monique Eloit.
The new Antimicrobial Resistance Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Platform, according to the Quadripartite, is an inclusive and international forum bringing together voices from all areas, sectors and perspectives through a holistic and system-wide One Health approach, for a shared vision responding to the need to improve coordination of efforts by a large number of stakeholders. This initiative underscores the threat AMR presents to humans, animals, plants, ecosystems and livelihoods.
– global bihari bureau