Newscast Media GENEVA—A new report by WHO–its first to look at antimicrobial
resistance, including antibiotic resistance, globally–reveals that this serious threat is
no longer a prediction for the future, it is happening right now in every region of the
world and has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country. Antibiotic
resistance–when bacteria change so antibiotics no longer work in people who need
them to treat infections–is now a major threat to public health.
“Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a
post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been
treatable for decades can once again kill,” says Dr Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s Assistant
Director-General for Health Security.
“Effective antibiotics have been one of the pillars allowing us to live longer, live
healthier, and benefit from modern medicine. Unless we take significant actions to
improve efforts to prevent infections and also change how we produce, prescribe and
use antibiotics, the world will lose more and more of these global public health goods
and the implications will be devastating.”
The report reveals that key tools to tackle antibiotic resistance–such as basic
systems to track and monitor the problem–show gaps or do not exist in many
countries. While some countries have taken important steps in addressing the
problem, every country and individual needs to do more.
Other important actions include preventing infections from happening in the first place
–through better hygiene, access to clean water, infection control in healthcare
facilities, and vaccination–to reduce the need for antibiotics. WHO is also calling
attention to the need to develop new diagnostics, antibiotics and other tools to allow
healthcare professionals to stay ahead of emerging resistance.