World leaders attending the 71st United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, United States, have pledged to curb the spread of infections that are resistant to antimicrobial medicines.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), antimicrobial resistance (AMR) happens when bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi develop resistance against medicines that were previously able to cure them.
For the first time, the Heads of State pledged to take a broad, coordinated approach to address the root causes of AMR across multiple sectors, especially human health, animal health and agriculture.
This is the fourth time a health issue has been taken up by the UN General Assembly: The others were Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV), non-communicable diseases, and Ebola.
Countries called for better use of existing, cost-effective tools for preventing infections in humans and animals. These include immunisation, safe water and sanitation, good hygiene in hospitals, and animal husbandry. Putting in place systems to ensure more appropriate use of existing and new antibiotics is also essential.
Thomson said: “Antimicrobial resistance threatens the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and requires a global response. 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 organisation can address this issue alone.”