22 May 2012
On May 22, in conjunction with the 65th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Ghana and Sweden co-hosted a high-level ministerial seminar to share national experiences of combating antibiotic resistance.
The seminar “Saving lives through cost-effective measures against antimicrobial resistance” addressed the growing health challenges the world is now facing due to the rapidly declining effectiveness of antibiotics.
The seminar was introduced by Mr Alban S.K. Bagbin, Minister of Health, Ghana and Mr Göran Hägglund, Minister for Health and Social Affairs, Sweden. Dr Otto Cars, ReAct, Sweden and Dr Keiji Fukuda from the WHO, gave introductory key note presentations. Panelists from Ghana, Thailand, and the Republic of Korea shared valuable experiences of combating antibiotic resistance.
The meeting was well attended by WHA delegates from many countries who also participated in the ensuing discussions where many issues were raised. Questions were discussed ranging from how antibiotic resistance affects maternal and child health and potentially jeopardizes the fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals to the rapidly increasing costs countries are facing as a consequence of antibiotic resistance, and the lack of access and affordability to new drugs.
The need for a new business model for antibiotic research and development was also raised and in particular the urgent need to include in such a model a system for how to prevent the misuse of future new antibiotics.
It was concluded that the responsibility ultimately lies with national governments to develop national policy plans for how to manage antibiotic resistance and to share the experiences with each other in collaboration with the WHO.