No Room for Complacency: The Fight Against Antimicrobial Resistance

Mohan P. Joshi

MSH/SIAPS | Principal Technical Advisor and Cluster Lead for Pharmaceutical Services
Combat Drug Resistance - WHO

"No action today, no cure tomorrow." World Health Day, 7 April 2011.

Picture a scenario where infections become totally untreatable because none of the available antimicrobial agents work.

This is not imaginary, but is likely to happen very soon if we don’t act urgently, intensely, and consistently to tackle the rising tide of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The World Health Organization (WHO) has labeled AMR as one of the biggest global public health threats. Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis and multidrug-resistant hospital infections are revealing examples of such a looming crisis. A recent report highlights the catastrophic consequences AMR will have wrought by the year 2050 if we don’t act now to contain it—about 10 million deaths a year and a cumulative cost of $100 trillion.

Another recent report by WHO indicates that most countries don’t have comprehensive national plans to contain AMR, and that AMR awareness is low in all regions of the world. AMR is a multi-factorial problem affecting all infectious diseases of public health significance. Effective solutions therefore lie in mounting multi-faceted interventions with commitment, involvement, and collaboration of stakeholders from diverse sectors.

To learn more about the various factors contributing to drug resistance and the interventions recommended to address them, visit the new GHeL course on AMR (Part 2). This course complements the previously published Part 1 course, which provided an introduction to AMR and its impacts.