World Health Day 2011: Antimicrobial Resistance

30 Mar 2011
Andrea Titus

World Health Day 2011 is fast approaching and this year’s focus is a topic very close to CDDEP: antimicrobial resistance. 

Resistance is a public health issue with many stakeholders.  It challenges interventions to control infections caused by microorganisms including bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses.  It affects all areas of the world, regardless of income level—as we’ve discussed in our work on antibiotic resistance, for example, resistant bacteria anywhere endanger our most powerful antibiotics everywhere.  The development of resistance is an inevitable consequence of using antimicrobials, but if we don’t take better care in using drugs now, the rapid evolution of resistance threatens to return us to a time before common antimicrobial treatments were available.  This promises to make control and eradication of some of the world’s most deadly pathogens exponentially more difficult than it already is.

From the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO, a regional office of the World Health Organization):

World Health Day 2011 is dedicated to antimicrobial resistance, a major threat to patient care and disease control throughout the world. Antimicrobial resistance is a significant obstacle to success in controlling HIV, malaria and tuberculosis—three of the world's leading infectious killers. This serious problem also makes it more difficult to treat hospital-acquired infections, facilitates the emergence of "superbugs" that are resistant to major antibiotics, and creates the need for new, more expensive and more complex treatments. 

PAHO and WHO are offering a variety of resources to raise awareness and foster policies to contain resistance, for instance by encouraging prudent drug use in both human and animal populations, promoting infection control practices, and supporting surveillance efforts.  For those in the Washington DC area, PAHO will be hosting a family-friendly “Walk for Health” this coming Saturday (April 2nd) to celebrate World Health Day activities.  Also visit the PAHO website for fact sheets, brochures, and a video message from Dr. Mirta Roses, PAHO Director.

For CDDEP, World Health Day 2011 coincides with the release of our Global Antibiotic Resistance Partnership (GARP) project’s Situation Analysis reports on antibiotic use and resistance in Kenya, India, and Vietnam.  These publications lay the foundation for national policy strategy reports to be released at this October’s 1st Global Forum on Bacterial Infections: Balancing Treatment Access and Antibiotic Resistance meeting in New Delhi, India.

Check back with WHO on April 7th for the release of their “six-point policy package” for combating antimicrobial resistance. 

World Health Day 2011 web button

Image credit: WHO

Antibiotic Resistance