Antimicrobial resistance discussed at UN General Assembly


Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

World Health organization

by Helen Yang, Reporter

The UN General Assembly convened at the UN Headquarters in New York to discuss the root causes of antimicrobial resistance and to form an international coalition to confront it as a global health concern on Sept. 21.

Antimicrobial resistance is the process in which pathogens build resistance against medicines and antibiotics through evolution and natural selection. These processes impede the treatment of infections and diseases caused by bacteria, parasites, fungi and viruses.

The unnecessary use of antibacterial products in daily life is creating a natural selection situation that eliminates non-resistant pathogens and increases the number of immune pathogens.

“When you use antibacterial products like hand lotion, you will kill many bacteria. But there will be some that will survive, and because they have such short generation time, those that survive will very rapidly increase in population,” science department chair Anita Chetty said. “Now you have a gene that has increased in frequency and that is resistant to that lotion.”

Antimicrobial resistance may also stem from how antimicrobials are used to treat food, including crop soil, fish and other livestock.

“In animals that are raised for meat or milk, they found that it’s just easier to feed them all antibiotics instead of case by case,” upper school nurse Clare Elchert said. “That is inappropriate use, and that’s causing accelerated resistance of bacteria to medicines”

The meeting is the fourth time that the UN General Assembly has tackled a health issuethe others were on HIV, Ebola and noncommunicable diseases. Antimicrobial resistance is considered one of the most urgent global health concerns.

In recent years, forms of Tuberculosis, HIV and malaria in recent years resistant to multiple drugs have emerged. If not addressed, serious health, social and economic problems will arise, impacting the medical world and the development of countries.

Countries agreed to support international action plans on antimicrobial resistance developed based on the Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance, formulated in 2015 by the World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

The Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance addresses the causes of antimicrobial resistance by highlighting the importance monitoring drug-resistant infections, controlling the amount of antibiotics used and avoiding misuse of antibiotic medicines, specifically for human health, animal health and agriculture.

Representatives at the General Assembly called for more appropriate use of existing antibiotics, better hygiene in hospitals and farms and safer water. In addition, they encouraged investment in researching and developing new, affordable medicines and tools to replace those that have become ineffective, as well as making a wider range of medical treatments available to more countries.
UN General Assembly and other relevant stakeholders will come together to further discuss antimicrobial resistance in September 2018.