Working antibiotics have given us a huge boost in quality of life over the last nine decades, but their importance and value is overlooked. Antibiotics play a crucial role in many more areas of life than most people imagine. This new report by ReAct and Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation looks at the state of global development when the drugs don’t work and a post-antibiotic era sets in. The report shows how antibiotic resistance is a global development problem by highlighting existing data and people’s experiences.
Keeping antibiotics effective for treating infectious diseases is essential for the work on achieving some or all of the Sustainable Development Goals. At the same time, achieving the goals is important to reduce antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance should therefore be considered a sustainable development issue. In When the Drugs Don’t Work: Antibiotic as a Global Development Problem you find a more detailed analysis of the negative impact of antibiotic resistance on global and national efforts to:
- eradicate poverty (SDG 1)
- spur economic growth (SDG 8 and 12)
- reduce inequality (SDG 5 and 10)
- improve global public health (SDG 3)
- reduce hunger (SDG 2), and
- protect the environment (SDG 6, 14 and 15).
Work on antibiotic resistance is essential for reaching the Sustainable Development Goals
Antibiotic resistance would seriously jeopardize the achievement of several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but is not yet seen as a global development problem. While recognized as a challenge for sustainable development, it is for instance not in the targets or indicators of the SDGs. This is one of the reasons why work on antibiotic resistance is still too little in practice and the topic is viewed as purely a health or agriculture issue.
Otto Cars, founder of ReAct says:
“This report clearly shows that antibiotic resistance must be addressed as a global development issue. Antibiotics must be seen as a potentially non-renewable resource which must be distributed equally across the globe.
There are no quick fixes – antibiotic resistance is a systems failure and thus all sectors need to contribute to a change and jointly securing that antibiotics remain effective. To limit the effects of antibiotic resistance, we have to let go of antibiotic resistance as a health issue only and start seeing it as a critical global development issue we all take ownership over.”
ReAct’s new paper to stimulate discussions
The new paper When the drugs don’t work: Antimicrobial Resistance as a Development Problem presents concrete examples of the underlying and complex aspects of antibiotic resistance and its impacts across different Sustainable Development Goals. It is intended to inform and stimulate discussions on how to further advance the implementation of:
- the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
- the Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance
- the National Action Plans on Antimicrobial Resistance, as well as
- work within all sectors that affect and are affected by antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotic resistance is not a problem of the future, it already has major consequences for the lives and livelihoods of people around the globe. Because of its urgency, antibiotic resistance should receive special attention on the national and global levels as a systems failure both in healthcare and agriculture.To limit the effects of antibiotic resistance, it must be considered a critical sustainable development issue. Looking into the close future there are many actions that can be taken by different actors at different levels to mitigate the effects of antibiotic resistance.
Click to see clickable infographic from the report. People living in poverty are not only more vulnerable to antibiotic resistance, but are also less able to prevent or treat antibiotic-resistant infections.
Authors: Maarten van der Heijden, Andreas Sandgren, Maria Pränting, Matti Karvanen, Helle Aagaard, Anna Zorzet, Mengying Ren and Otto Cars (ReAct)
Published: 28 February 2019
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