An increasing number of infections are untreatable due to antimicrobial resistance. An estimated 214,000 newborns die every year from sepsis caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria, and lack of effective antibiotics threatens both basic and advanced medicine. The negative impact also extends well beyond health with serious implications on poverty reduction and inequality, animal welfare, the environment, food safety and security.
Blog post by:
Tenu Avafia, Manager, Human Rights, Key Populations and Treatment Access, UNDP
Otto Cars, Senior Professor, Infectious Diseases, ReAct
The World Bank estimates that 28 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty every year by 2050, with an overall cost to the global economy of US$1 trillion per year. As such, antimicrobial resistance must be seen as a development problem.
The causes of antimicrobial resistance are complex and multifaceted. They include a lack of adequate health services, inappropriate use of antibiotics both in humans and food animal production, suboptimal water and sanitation systems, gaps in both access and research and development for essential health technologies, and environmental pollution. A collective and sustained effort by the United Nations and international organizations, governments, civil society and the private sector is needed to adequately respond. The magnitude of AMR was recognized in the political declaration from the 2016 UN high-level meeting on AMR. The recent UN Inter-Agency Coordination Group recommendations stressed that the Food and Agricultural Organization, the World Organisation for Animal Health and WHO should work together with UN Environment, other UN agencies and the World Bank to further strengthen our joint One Health action.
For UNDP, its 2018-2021 Strategic Plan, its experience convening multisectoral health and development responses at country level, and priorities such as addressing inequality and promoting planetary health provide important entry points. At the country level, support is needed to design, finance and implement National Action Plans. A 2018 survey found that while 117 countries had AMR National Action Plans, only a fifth of these had the necessary funding to put them in place. UNDP’s work on multisectoral responses to HIV, Noncommunicable Diseases, Tobacco Control and health systems strengthening, could be expanded to supporting the multisectoral design and implementation of AMR National Action Plans.
In its strategic plan for 2019-2023 ReAct, one of the first international independent networks to articulate the complex nature of antibiotic resistance, will focus on enabling collective global action that ensures sustainable and equitable access to effective antibiotics for all. This will be done by supporting the development and implementation of National Action Plans, mobilizing a broader AMR movement as well as advocating for stronger global governance to be established and innovation to be public health driven.
The global response to tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases also contains important lessons that should shape our approach to AMR. In both cases, the traditional innovation system does not produce the technologies needed by patients and a variety of incentives and funding strategies are being used to promote innovation. We must continue to support new models to incentivize innovation for effective and appropriately available vaccines, point of care diagnostics and a new generations of antibiotics. As vitally important as it is to develop new technologies, innovation without focusing on access does not improve health outcomes. Getting the right health innovations to the right people, in the right places, is a complex challenge. Each health system is unique and requires targeted interventions to address local or specific bottlenecks. The UNDP-led Access and Delivery Partnership is one such approach.
The multifaceted complex challenges posed by AMR cannot be addressed by any one person, institution or government.
The One Health approach that governments have committed to, requires greater coordination, stronger governance and effective partnerships, as prioritized in the 2030 Agenda. The One Health approach being implemented by the United Nations in Vietnam is an example of the success that is possible through greater co-ordination. The multifaceted complex challenges by AMR can not be addressed by any one person, institution, or government. It requires a comprehensive, coherent effort from us all.
More news and opinion from 2019
- ReAct’s 2019 wrap up and 2020 expectations
- Blog post by UNDP and ReAct: Antimicrobial resistance: An emerging crisis
- Water, sanitation and hygiene services critical to curbing antibiotic quick fix
- Diagnostics: Antibiotic susceptibility
- ReAct highlights during World Antibiotic Awareness week 2019
- 2019 AMR photo competition prizes announced
- Launch of UNICEF’s institutional guidance on antimicrobial resistance
- Proposed ban on colistin for animal use announced in Indonesia
- School children led celebration of World Toilet Day and World Antibiotic Awareness Week
- 10 Innovate4AMR-winning teams enjoyed 3-day workshop in Geneva
- After 4 collaborative meeting days: Actions for the future in Latin America
- Four key points from joint comments to One Health Global Leaders Group on AMR
- Why are children more vulnerable to AMR?
- Dr Yoel Lubell, Health Economist, on Thailand, AMR, UCH and cultural factors driving AMR
- UHC and AMR: The Thai Experience
- Why do effective antibiotics matter for quality of care and patient safety?
- New ReAct policy brief: Antimicrobial resistance and universal health coverage – What’s the deal?
- Three key takeaways from the ReAct Africa conference
- Diagnostics: Species identification
- AMR-specific indicator proposed for monitoring Sustainable Development Goals
- Five focus areas at the 2nd Ministerial Conference on AMR hosted by the Netherlands
- Safety concerns of fecal microbiota transplants
- Upcoming ReAct Africa Conference: universal health coverage and antimicrobial resistance in focus
- Mother Earth conference in Argentina – the environment in focus
- Diagnostics: What are we talking about?
- Connecting global to local civil-society-agenda on AMR at CSO convening in Geneva
- ReAct colleagues featured in WHO Bulletin as leading profiles in the work on reacting to antibiotic resistance
- RAN stakeholder at WHO IPC consultation – for standards and guidelines in African Union member states
- WHA conversation on Antibiotic Resistance as a Global Development Problem co-organized by ReAct
- Insights from ReAct Asia Pacific project on antibiotic stewardship in secondary level hospitals in India
- Open letter to UN Member States from former IACG members Anthony So and Otto Cars
- ReAct UHC Intervention at UNGA Multi-stakeholder Hearing for High-level Meeting on UHC
- ReAct Latin America honors Earth Day
- Medicines Patent Pool’s view on the role of licenses for antibiotics – World Intellectual Property Day
- Second time for Innovate4AMR competition!
- World Health Day 2019: Universal Health Coverage
- Diagnostics: Constraints for successful implementation
- Antibiotic Shortages: magnitude, causes and possible solutions: A new WHO meeting report
- Erry Setyawan, FAO, on Indonesian NAP: We need to work together to make it possible to manage AMR
- ReAct’s new 5-year strategic plan receives funding from Sida
- How infections spread and how to stop them
- Generating data for policy and practice