Last July, ReAct and the South Centre jointly organized a conference in Nairobi, Kenya on ‘Achieving Universal Health Coverage while Addressing Antimicrobial Resistance’. Based on the insights from experts in antimicrobial resistance and universal health coverage from 33 different countries ReAct wrote a policy brief linking universal health coverage to antimicrobial resistance. The policy brief shows why antimicrobial resistance seriously threatens achieving universal health coverage, but also how their respective policies go hand in hand.
Managing antibiotic resistance will be critical to achieve universal health coverage
Effective antibiotics are critically important cornerstones for a health system. Antimicrobial resistance would therefore seriously jeopardize the achievement of universal health coverage as:
- Without sustainable and effective treatment of infections, good quality health care for all will not be reached.
- Without management of antimicrobial resistance, sustainable financing of universal health coverage will be difficult.
Pay now, or pay much more later
The World Bank estimates that between 1.1% and 3.8% of global GDP could be lost due to antimicrobial resistance if left unchecked by 2050. Failure to manage antimicrobial resistance leads to resistant infections that require more and longer hospitalizations (inpatient care) and need for more expensive treatment options. The morbidity and mortality attributable to these resistant infections also bear enormous societal costs.
Sustainable financing of universal health coverage needs to consider the current and long-term risks of antimicrobial resistance: the choice therefore is to pay now, or pay much more later.
What has stood out, which is a great achievement and which need emphasis, is mainstreaming of antimicrobial resistance into the existing government framework. Malawi has managed to do that – to mainstream antimicrobial resistance. We are called for meetings even for HIV/AIDS and for many other programs, because they critically understand that antimicrobial resistance is a challenge and the program can be incorporated into the system, and we can unite resources.
Watipaso Kasambara, Antimicrobial Resistance Coordinator Malawi
Managing antibiotic resistance within universal health coverage
For a universal health coverage strategy to be truly successful, it has to address antimicrobial resistance. An essential part of implementing universal health care is to strengthen health care systems to provide access to quality care. These system strengthening measures will concurrently contribute to managing antimicrobial resistance. For instance, the expansion of primary health care, access to essential medicines and diagnostics, access to clean water and sanitation, prevention of infections, increased vaccination coverage and other measures are important components of antimicrobial resistance programs that improve quality of care. This illustrates that antimicrobial resistance and universal health coverage go hand-in-hand. The policy brief shows how antimicrobial resistance can be included in different health system interventions also needed for universal health coverage.
5 initial steps to manage antimicrobial resistance within universal health coverage strategies
- Amplify the message that: ‘Achieving universal health coverage and managing antimicrobial resistance go hand in hand’.
- Build political commitment to invest now in measures to address antimicrobial resistance. Failing to do so will result in paying much more later. Antimicrobial resistance threatens the sustainable financing of universal health coverage in national health systems.
- Identify entry points through which antimicrobial resistance can be addressed in national universal health coverage strategies and how resources can be united.
- Advocate for inclusion of antimicrobial resistance in broader health and development programs at global, regional and national level.
- Build strong one health platforms for collaboration across sectors, and ensure greater coordination between the universal health coverage and antimicrobial resistance strategies.
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