antimicrobial resistance

{A woman visits the pharmacy at Hopital Methodiste in Dabou, Cote D'Ivoire. Photo Credit: Fabrice Duhal}A woman visits the pharmacy at Hopital Methodiste in Dabou, Cote D'Ivoire. Photo Credit: Fabrice Duhal

To read this article in French, please click here.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major threat in Côte d’Ivoire and requires rapid measures to contain it.

For example, the average resistance to amoxicillin rose from 73.7% in 2012 to 87.3% in 2017 (Report of the Observatoire des résistances des microorganismes aux antiinfectieux en Côte d’Ivoire (Observatory on the resistance of microorganisms to anti-infectives in Côte d’Ivoire) for 2017). This shows that resistance to this commonly used antibiotic is very high and rising in the country.

However, in recent years and following the World Health Organization (WHO) Joint External Evaluation in the country in 2016, Côte d’Ivoire has forged ahead with strategic measures to advance its fight against AMR.

Health worker at Divine Grace Medical Center, Philippines. Photo credit: MSH

OPINION: The pandemic may be interfering with our fight against drug-resistant bacteria. Luckily, the same tactics can beat back both scourges.

 

As health-care systems around the world fight to contain Covid-19, they may be inadvertently opening the door wider to another killer that is just as dangerous.

I’m talking about the spread of pathogens that are resistant to treatment, such as antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The death toll from Covid is staggering, but so is that from antibiotic resistance: Nasty superbugs such as Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, currently kill some 700,000 people globally each year — that’s twice the number of Americans who died of Covid last year. Left unchecked, antibiotic resistance may kill up to 10 million more people yearly and cumulatively cost patients and health systems up to $100 trillion by the year 2050.

 {Photo credit: MSH staff.}Journalists raise their hands in solidarity to support AMR advocacy and containment at the close of a SIAPS-supported workshop organized by the Food, Medicine and Health Care Administration and Control Authority of Ethiopia in June 2012.Photo credit: MSH staff.

Achieving universal health coverage (UHC) won’t be possible without paying close attention to one of our most pressing global health threats: drug-resistant infections.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when microorganisms develop resistance to a medicine that was originally intended to disable or kill them. While microbes naturally develop resistance to antimicrobials over time, excessive or inappropriate use of antibiotics speeds up AMR. The issue is a big challenge to UHC, jeopardizing the effectiveness of surgical procedures and threatening the treatment of many infectious diseases, including malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS.

According to estimates from The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, a report commissioned by the U.K. government and the Wellcome Trust, the financial burden from AMR could be as much as USD 100 trillion and the global gross domestic product could decrease 3.5% by 2050. AMR also causes immense loss of life—700,000 people die from drug-resistant infections each year, and this number is expected to grow to 10 million by 2050 if AMR is not contained.

{Photo by: Michael Paydos/MSH}Photo by: Michael Paydos/MSH

This article was originally published on LillyPad, a blog run by the global health care company Eli Lilly, on February 16.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global health crisis. In his AMR review, renowned economist Jim O’Neill estimates a loss of US$100 trillion in global productivity by the year 2050 if swift, comprehensive action to fight AMR is not taken. The publication acknowledges multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) as a “cornerstone of the global AMR challenge.”

 {Photo credit: Warren Zelman Photography}A pharmacy/clinic window in Democratic Republic of the Congo.Photo credit: Warren Zelman Photography

Strong health systems are necessary to help prevent and mitigate epidemics, including the oft-overlooked epidemic of antimicrobial resistance.

This is the third post in a new series on improving the health of the poorest and most vulnerable women, girls, families, and communities by prioritizing prevention and preparing health systems for epidemics (see also: Part 1 and Part 2). Join the conversation online with hashtag .

Unpublished
 {Photo credit: Todd Shapera}Antibiotics on the shelves of a pharmacy in Rwanda.Photo credit: Todd Shapera

Picture a scenario where infections become totally untreatable because none of the available antimicrobial agents work. This is not imaginary, but is likely to happen very soon if we don’t act urgently, intensely, and consistently to tackle the rising tide of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

This week, the global health and development community is commemorating the first World Antibiotic Awareness Week. Spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise global awareness on the magnitude, reach, and severity of antibiotic resistance; the event comes at a time when resistance to many antimicrobials, not just antibiotics, has now escalated to pandemic proportions and is a serious global health risk that requires urgent attention. In fact, the WHO has labeled AMR one of the biggest global public health threats.

 {Photo credit: Todd Shapera}Antibiotics on the shelves of a pharmacy in Rwanda.Photo credit: Todd Shapera

In May 2015, the World Health Assembly discussed and endorsed a global action plan on antimicrobial resistance. The action plan sets five strategic objectives to promote better understanding of the threat of antimicrobial resistance, and to ensure the proper use and conservation of existing antimicrobials.

South African poster encouraging appropriate use of antimicrobials, developed for Pharmacy Week 2014.

Antimicrobial resistance is a major threat to the long-term security of public health and has the potential to negatively impact our society. It is a serious and growing global health security risk, which needs to be prioritised at local and international levels.

-Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, South African Minister of Health

Last May, the World Health Assembly called for global action to address the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program in South Africa (SIAPS-SA), understanding the need for a coordinated national response, worked closely with the National Department of Health (NDoH) on the development of the National Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Strategy Framework 2014-2024 and the institutionalization of a self-assessment and continuous quality improvement approach to enhance infection prevention and control (IPC) programs.

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman.}Photo credit: Warren Zelman.

This post originally appeared on the Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) program blog.

Does antimicrobial resistance mean the end of modern medicine as we know it? Not quite yet. However, in a report recently released on global surveillance of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that "a post-antibiotic era–in which common infections and minor injuries can kill–is a very real possibility for the 21st century."

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - antimicrobial resistance