(1999; 83 pages)
The WHO Antimicrobial Resistance Information Bank
Despite the enormous advances in health care made during the last half-century, infectious diseases still account for 25% of mortality worldwide and 45% in low-income countries. Anti-infective drugs are critically important in reducing the global burden of diseases such as tuberculosis, acute respiratory infections, malaria, sexually transmitted diseases or hospital-acquired infections. However, as resistant microbes develop and spread, the effectiveness of these drugs is diminished.
In order to define more clearly the magnitude of the resistance problem and the global impact on mortality, morbidity and health care costs, WHO has been requested to undertake a number of surveillance, education, policy development and implementation activities. These have now been extended to include anti-infective drug resistance surveillance and containment.
It is only by the more careful use of ant-infective drugs that emergence and spread of resistance will be contained. This will require the collaboration of groups which include prescribers, dispensers, patients, governments and industry, including the agriculture, aquaculture and horticulture industries. As part of the new activity, the Antimicrobial Resistance InfoBank (1) will gather and make accessible information on antimicrobial resistance surveillance networks and resistance data.
Other activities supporting the data bank will include strengthening national capacity to detect, monitor and respond to anti-infective drug resistance. Together with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and other international organizations the health implications of anti-infective drug use in food production and other industries will continue to be investigated. Briefing materials, fact sheets and articles will be provided for education and advocacy and countries will be assisted in developing national surveillance networks.
1. A-R InfoBank is available on http://www.who.int/emc/amr.html