(2010; 56 pages)
Resistance to antimicrobials is a natural and inevitable biological phenomenon that can be amplified or accelerated by a variety of factors and practices that facilitate “selective pressure”. The microbes which adapt and survive carry genes for resistance, which can be passed on to the next generation of microbes and also, in some bacteria, across different species. The selection pressure is utmost when antimicrobials are used irrationally in health and veterinary sectors.
The emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance are complex problems fuelled by the knowledge, expectations and interactions of prescribers and the patients, and regulatory environment. Patient concordance with recommended treatment is another major problem. Easy access of antimicrobials in developing countries and myths amongst communities about their use exert an equally important influence on the emergence of resistance.
Resistance is a biological, behavioural, technical, economic, regulatory and educational problem that requires a comprehensive response. It is a major public health issue. To combat this cross-cutting problem, WHO has developed a simple and easy-to-implement strategy.
To discuss these issues and implementation of the Regional Strategy a regional meeting was organized at Chiang Mai, Thailand from 8-11 June 2010.