Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (2015)
(2015; 28 pages)

Abstract

Antimicrobial resistance threatens the very core of modern medicine and the sustainability of an effective, global public health response to the enduring threat from infectious diseases. Effective antimicrobial drugs are prerequisites for both preventive and curative measures, protecting patients from potentially fatal diseases and ensuring that complex procedures, such as surgery and chemotherapy, can be provided at low risk. Yet systematic misuse and overuse of these drugs in human medicine and food production have put every nation at risk. Few replacement products are in the pipeline. Without harmonized and immediate action on a global scale, the world is heading towards a post-antibiotic era in which common infections could once again kill.

Alert to this crisis, the May 2015 World Health Assembly adopted a global action plan on antimicrobial resistance, which outlines five objectives:

  • to improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance through effective communication, education and training;
  • to strengthen the knowledge and evidence base through surveillance and research;
  • to reduce the incidence of infection through effective sanitation, hygiene and infection prevention measures;
  • to optimize the use of antimicrobial medicines in human and animal health;
  • to develop the economic case for sustainable investment that takes account of the needs of all countries and to increase investment in new medicines, diagnostic tools, vaccines and other interventions.

This action plan underscores the need for an effective “one health” approach involving coordination among numerous international sectors and actors, including human and veterinary medicine, agriculture, finance, environment, and wellinformed consumers. The action plan recognizes and addresses both the variable resources nations have to combat antimicrobial resistance and the economic factors that discourage the development of replacement products by the pharmaceutical industry.

An all-out effort is needed. WHO will work with the United Nations to tackle antimicrobial resistance at the political level.

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