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World Leaders Take Unprecedented Action to Fight Drug-Resistant Bugs

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World Leaders Take Unprecedented Action to Fight Drug-Resistant Bugs

The United Nations General Assembly voted to take a broad, coordinated approach to address the root cause of antimicrobial, or drug, resistance on Wednesday. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), antimicrobial resistance occurs when bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi develop immunity against medicines that could previously cure them. This is only the fourth time a health issue has been taken up by the UN General Assembly. The others were HIV, noncommunicable diseases and Ebola. This approach is a strong political declaration, showing no singular nation can address this issue on its own.

During the meeting, leaders recognized the need for stronger systems to monitor drug-resistant infections, and they pledged to strengthen regulation of the uses of antimicrobials, like antibiotics. The group also recognized the need to raise awareness and find alternatives to antimicrobials, including better and quicker diagnosis and vaccines.

“It’s great to see world leaders elevate the problem of antimicrobial resistance to a global level because infectious agents don’t respect our international boundaries,” Stephen Rinderknecht D.O., UnityPoint Health, says. “A true impact will take a global response. Judicious use of antibiotics and disease prevention is taken seriously by UnityPoint Health. Antimicrobials are a great and effective tool but will only remain helpful with careful and judicious use.”           

WHO experts say resistance to treatments is making infections like pneumonia, gonorrhea, HIV, tuberculosis and malaria harder to treat. While resistance impacts humans, animals and crops, resistance to antibiotics is considered the most urgent global risk. Leaders are also called for investment in research to develop new, effective and affordable medicines to replace those that are no longer showing benefits to patients.

As with most illness prevention, remembering to take daily preventative measures like hand washing is a great way to keep you and your family healthy.