Antibiotics save lives every day all over the world. However, without a radical shift in the way antibiotics are marketed and used—and unless we overcome the gap in antibiotics discovery—antibiotic resistance will continue to become one of the greatest threats to humankind.
Antibiotic resistance strikes hardest on the poor. Securing access to effective antibiotics is a challenge, particularly for poorer populations with limited access to water and sanitation, medicines and health care. Most of the yearly 1.1 million under-five child deaths due to pneumonia result from poor access to effective antibiotics.
‘Antibiotic resistance emerges as a threat that goes across borders, as a responsibility that no single nation can address in isolation. In recognising this, the issue must be on the global political agenda’, said Annika Söder, Executive Director at the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation. ‘Antibiotics are a precious public good and an exhaustible resource’, Söder adds.
Despite the accelerating problem, global coordination has until now been extremely weak. At the 67th World Health Assembly held in Geneva last week the Member States requested the Director-General of the WHO to develop a draft global action plan to combat antimicrobial resistance, including antibiotic resistance. This will however demand strong political commitment and leadership and also new actors entering the arena forming partnerships and collaborations between academia, governments and the private sector.
‘Antibiotic resistance can no longer be
considered a matter only for hospitals and the health sector. The consequences
of antibiotic resistance are hitting hard on economy, environment and global
development. We need more action by more
actors’, said Otto Cars, Director at ReAct and
Professor in Infectious Diseases at Uppsala University.
Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation and ReAct—Action on antibiotic resistance— in collaboration with the Division of Global Health, Karolinska Institutet, are gathering some of the world’s leading experts from many sectors such as industry, agriculture, health, civil society, governments and researchers to discuss how to tackle antibiotic resistance and how to move a coordinated global agenda forward. The meeting takes place 10–12 June in Uppsala, Sweden.
The Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation’s mission is to
catalyse dialogue and action for a socially and economically just,
environmentally sustainable, democratic and peaceful world. In the spirit of
Dag Hammarskjöld the foundation aims to generate new perspectives and ideas on
global development and multilateral cooperation. It also builds bridges between
actors and provide space for those most affected by inequalities and injustice.
ReAct - Action on Antibiotic Reaction is an independent global network for concerted action on antibiotic resistance. ReAct aims for profound change in awareness and action to manage the interacting social, political, ecological and technical forces that drive the rising rate of resistant human and animal infection and the rapid spread of resistance within and between communities and countries.