Wednesday, April 6, 2011

UN raises alarm on antibiotic resistance

Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary general

Source: Press TV

The UN secretary general has warned against antimicrobial resistance, stressing the need for the 'urgent' addressing of the issue through concerted international efforts.

In his message for the World Health Day on 7 April, Ban Ki-moon warned of the increase in microbial resistance to antibiotics and other antimicrobial medications across the globe.

The UN chief praised the health improvements caused by the discovery of the antibiotics and the availability of antibacterial medications for poorer communities over the past two decades, which have helped fighting major killers, including TB, HIV, malaria, pneumonia and diarrheal diseases.

However, he expressed great concern about threats caused to these improvements due to the emergence of drug-resistant organisms.

“Antimicrobial resistance is a natural phenomenon, but it is exacerbated by the widespread use, overuse and misuse of medicines, and the spread of resistant infections in healthcare and agriculture. Trade, travel and migration are increasing the spread of these organisms across communities and borders,” ban said.

“Some of the medicines that saved our parents and grandparents are already unusable today. Drug resistance imposes huge costs on health systems and is taking a growing - and unnecessary - toll in lives, threatening to roll back much of the progress we have made towards the health-related Millennium Development Goals,” he added.

Moreover, the current problem may undermine the gains of other modern medicines and technologies used to fight non-communicable diseases. Perhaps most disturbing is that the pipeline for new antimicrobial medicines to replace those that have been lost has nearly dried up, Ban further warned.

“The World Health Organization has selected "Combat Antimicrobial Resistance: No Action Today, No Cure Tomorrow" as the theme for this year's World Health Day.

“Today, WHO is calling for action to raise accountability and halt the spread of drug resistance through a six-point policy package: joint planning; surveillance; drug regulation; rational use of medicines; infection prevention and control; innovation and research,” the UN chief urged, adding “Governments, industry and all stakeholders must answer the call. Global health and untold millions of lives are at risk.”

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