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World Health Organisation now warns that antimicrobial resistance is a major cause of death as well as morbidity

Posted by JUDITH DORA AKOLO on 18 November 2022 3:00 PM CAT
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World Health Organisation now warns that antimicrobial resistance is a major cause of death as well as morbidity

By Judith Akolo

Antimicrobial resistance is is becoming a major concern globally with studies showing that it is directly causing over 1.27 deaths annually.

According to Dr Haileyesus Getahun, the Director in charge of Global Coordination and Partnership on AMR, and Director, Quadripartite Joint Secretariat on AMR at World Health Organization (WHO), antimicrobial resistance is also indirectly causing 4.95 million deaths annually.

“The greatest burden is in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia,” said Dr. Getahun, and adds that, these are the lower middle-income countries and small island developing states.

Dr. Getahun notes that the diagnosis of bacterial infections is not well developed in the global South because of few diagnostics available and very expensive, “for example we have diagnostic tools that can differentiate between a flu and a bacterial infection, such that if it is a flu such a patient may not benefit from antibiotics, so having such would be beneficial but it is still non-existent in most of the countries in the global South.”

He is calling for proper training of health workers to ensure proper antimicrobial stewardship.

The economic burden as a result of drug resistant infections will run into trillions of dollars, he says, with studies indicating that US$ 1.2 may be needed in additional health expenditure per year by 2050.

“With up to 24 million additional people falling into extreme poverty by the year 2030,” he says and adds, “most of who will be in the low-income countries.”

Noting that antimicrobials are shared between human, animals and plants, “causing an interface of the challenge hence the correlation of transmission of resistant bacteria between food producing animals and humans processing the animals, with antimicrobial resistance having increased in pigs, chicken and cattle.”

The main drivers of antimicrobial resistance is the misuse of antimicrobials is the main cause of antimicrobial resistance, less water sanitation and hygiene that results into infections that require antimicrobials is increasing resistance.

“We cannot address antimicrobial resistance by only looking at one sector alone, we need a multi-sectoral approach through one health, which is an integrated, unifying approach that aims to sustainably balance and optimize the health of humans, domestic and wild animals, plants and the wider environment,” says Dr. Getahun.

 

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