All WHO Member States adopted the Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance in 2015 which identifies five areas of action needed to tackle antimicrobial resistance: improving awareness, increasing surveillance and monitoring, improve infection prevention, optimize the use of antimicrobials and develop new antibiotics, vaccines and diagnostics.
The ReAct Toolbox aims to assist all health care professionals – both in human and animal health – to tackle the spread of antibiotic resistance by compiling the best resources to guide action and built on experiences from past interventions in a variety of settings.
Health care professionals are responsible for treatment decisions, prescription and distribution of antibiotics for humans and animals. Rational use policies should be designed to prevent harm, improve safety and treatment outcomes, while conserving the effectiveness and longevity of all antibiotics.
Appropriate, rational or prudent use of antibiotics are widely used terms when discussing the causes of and remedies for antibiotic resistance. Much like the term One Health, appropriateness of antibiotic use is intuitively appealing – its meaning seems obvious and most people would say that one should not use antibiotics inappropriately. But still we see a lot of misuse of antibiotics all over the world, so either there are many people who simply do not care about appropriate use of antibiotics, or perhaps the meaning is not so obvious as it first seems.
Fixed dose combinations are pharmaceutical products such as tablets, ointments or suspensions where two or more antibiotics are combined in one product. In the treatment of Tuberculosis and HIV, they are vital for treatment success as they improve compliance and reduce development of resistance. In theory, it sounds like a good idea to copy this success to other bacteria and antibiotic resistance, but in practice it is generally not so.
Infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance are related with nutrition through intricate connections, which are poorly understood. Several hypotheses have been proposed suggesting that our gut microbiome is instrumental for our health in many ways.
Stefan Swartling Peterson, Chief of Health at Unicef, sees strong health systems as key to prevent infections and spread of antibiotic resistance. “Strong health systems, where a midwife is able to wash her hands before she delivers you, but also where drugs and supplies are available and the health worker has been paid and supervised are key”, he says.Read interview where Professor Swartling Peterson elaborates on the access-excess relation to antibiotics, implementation research methods, strong health systems and future work of Unicef.
Improving infection control will reduce the need for using antibiotic in the first place in both humans and animals. By decreasing use of antibiotics the development and spread of resistance can be slowed down.
According to a recent publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, global antibiotic consumption in humans has increased dramatically from 2000 to 2015. The study rings a bell on the complex challenges posed by underuse, misuse and overuse of antibiotics.
“Caring about antibiotic resistance is similar to reducing plastic waste or saving water”, says Dr. Windhi Kresnawati. She is a pediatrician and has worked in a remote area (Biak regency) in Papua Island in Indonesia for the past 4 years. During this time she managed to engage various stakeholders to support and participate in a series of activities to raise their awareness on antibiotic resistance. She also volunteers with Concerned and Caring Parents (YOP) in their educational activities.
Knowledge is critical for good policy and practical work. In the Global Action Plan on AMR adopted by WHO in 2015, strategic objective 2 is to “Strengthen the knowledge and evidence base through surveillance and research”. But how can this be done in countries that lack funds and technical capacity?
Dr. Nithima Sumpradi from the Thai Food and Drug Administration was one of the key researchers responsible for the Antibiotic Smart Use project in Thailand. Here she explains the program more in detail, what it has achieved and reflects over lessons learned in the process.
A new study in The Lancet Infectious Diseases reports an increase in the burden of antibiotic resistant infections in the EU/EEA. Now 33000 people die annually from antibiotic resistant bacterial infections, an increase from 10 years ago. In Europe, the burden is actually comparable to that from HIV, TB and influenza combined.
In May of 2018, the WHO released the first-ever list of essential diagnostics to improve diagnosis and treatment outcomes to the delight of many champions of antimicrobial resistance across the globe. In Africa, the release of this list was particularly exciting to one doctor in Nairobi, Kenya, who has long been an advocate for the development of such a list.
As we celebrate the 90th anniversary of the discovery of penicillin, it is appropriate to take a look at the current state of modern medicine since the discovery penicillin and the other antibiotics that followed. Here are seven ways that penicillin changed modern medicine.