AMR awareness matters
Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
The World Health Organization warns that an estimated 10 million people globally are expected to die due to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) by 2050.
The WHO noted that AMR was one of the health issues raised during the 70 th session of WHO Western Pacific Regional office in Manila recently. The agency added that delegates “recognized that efforts to combat AMR need to be stepped up, as so-called superbugs – bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi that have become resistant to treatment – pose an ever greater threat to the future.”
“AMR threatens to reverse hard-fought gains in fighting tuberculosis, malaria, HIV and many common infections as well as, broadly, the achievement of universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals,” the agency stressed.
Antimicrobial resistance is the ability of a microorganism to stop an antimicrobial (antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials) from working against it. As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others.
AMR occurs naturally over time, usually through genetic changes. However, the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials is accelerating this process. In many places, antibiotics are overused and misused in people and animals, and often given without professional oversight. Examples of misuse include when they are taken by people with viral infections like cold and flu, and when they are given as growth promoters in animals or used to prevent diseases in healthy animals.
Patients with infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria are at increased risk of worse clinical outcomes and death, and consume more health care resources than patients infected with non-resistant strains of the same bacteria.
AMR is a complex problem that affects all of society and is driven by many interconnected factors. Coordinated action is required to minimize its emergence and spread. Aside from national action plans to improve education and awareness, greater innovation and investment will be required in research and development of new antimicrobial medicines, vaccines, and diagnostic tools.
The misuse and overuse of antimicrobials is a significant contributor to this looming problem, making this a habit that needs to be corrected as soon as possible. Governments and the private sector must work together to increase awareness and tighten controls when it comes to these drugs that are losing efficacy due to irresponsible usage.*