WHO addresses antimicrobial resistance

Delegates at the 68th World Health Assembly yesterday in Geneva, Switzerland, endorsed a global action plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance, including antibiotic resistance, which they termed the most urgent drug resistance trend. Antimicrobial resistance compromises the ability to treat infectious diseases and undermine advances in health and medicine, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The plan has five objectives:

  1. Improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance;
  2. Strengthen surveillance and research;
  3. Reduce the incidence of infection;
  4. Optimize the use of antimicrobial medicines;
  5. Ensure sustainable investment in countering antimicrobial resistance.

The resolution passed by the delegates urges the 194 member states to adapt the plan to their national priorities and specific contexts and to mobilize additional resources to implement it. All governments adopting the plan commit to having a national action plan on antimicrobial resistance that is aligned with the global action plan by May 2017. It must cover the use of antimicrobial medicines in human health as well as animal health and agriculture. WHO will work with countries to support the development and implementation of their national plans and expects to report progress to the Health Assembly in 2017.

Delegates also agreed on resolutions related to immunization and nutrition.

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