Urgent action needed to avert antimicrobial resistance crisis – UN

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva

The United Nation Ad Hoc Interagency Coordinating Group (IACG) on Antimicrobial Resistance has warned that drug-resistant diseases can cause 10 million deaths each year globally by 2050, if urgent action is not taken.

The UN, international agencies and experts on Monday released a groundbreaking report demanding immediate, coordinated and ambitious action to avert a potentially disastrous drug-resistance crisis.

It noted that the report reflected a renewed commitment to collaborative action at the global level by the World Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the UN, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organisation.

UN ad hoc Interagency Coordinating Group on Antimicrobial Resistance, which released the report, warned that “if no action is taken’’ drug-resistant diseases could cause 10 million deaths each year by 2050 and damage to the economy as catastrophic as the 2008 to 2009 global financial crisis.

It said that by 2030, antimicrobial resistance could force up to 24 million people into extreme poverty.

“Currently, at least 700,000 people die each year due to drug-resistant diseases, including 230,000 people who die from multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis.

“More and more common diseases, including respiratory tract infections, sexually transmitted infections and urinary tract infections, are untreatable; lifesaving medical procedures are becoming much riskier, and our food systems are increasingly precarious.

“The world is already feeling the economic and health consequences as crucial medicines become ineffective.

“Without investment from countries in all income brackets, future generations will face the disastrous impacts of uncontrolled antimicrobial resistance,’’ it stated.

Recognising that human, animal, food and environmental health are closely interconnected, the report called for a coordinated, multi-sectoral “One Health” approach.

The agencies called for immediate coordinated action to avert a global potentially disastrous drug-resistance crisis and prevent staggering number of deaths each year.

José da Silva, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said the report’s recommendations recognised that antimicrobials were critical to safeguard food production, safety and trade, human as well as animal health.

Peace PIAK

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