UK calls for international action on antimicrobial resistance

21-May-2013

Government lobbies world leaders over \'catastrophic\' threat

The UK is taking the lead in calling for worldwide action to address the ‘catastrophic’ threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, and Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Professor Dame Sally Davies, are leading a delegation to the World Health Assembly in Geneva this week where they will call for international action to deal with the growing problem of the lack of medicines to treat the soaring number of antibiotic-resistant infections.

If we don’t take action, in 20 years time we could be back in the 19th Century where infections kill us as a result of routine operations

Hunt said: “Antimicrobial resistance is a global problem. There are few public health issues of greater importance. We need stronger international partnerships and coalitions so that the threat is fully recognised and the responsibility for reducing it is shared.

Dame Sally added: “We in the UK are taking this issue extremely seriously and will be publishing a five-year, cross-government strategy in the summer. But we can’t really tackle it unless we get co-ordinated, international action, which is why we’re working in partnership to push it up the global political agenda.

“If we don’t take action, in 20 years time we could be back in the 19th Century where infections kill us as a result of routine operations.”

Discussions at the assembly will focus on the main objectives of the new UK cross-government Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy , to be published in the summer, which include:

  • Slowing down the development and spread of AMR by improving understanding, surveillance and prescribing
  • Maintaining the efficacy of existing antimicrobials by stricter infection prevention and better stewardship
  • Supporting the development of new antimicrobials and alternative treatments by closer working with regulatory bodies, the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Union (EU) and other international partners
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The UK’s five-year, cross-government AMR Strategy is due to be published in the summer.

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