The World Health Organisation has endorsed a global a plan to curb antibiotic resistance across the world. The just ended World Health Assembly agreed that countries should implement plans to stop the the overuse of existing antibiotics drugs to ensure they remain effective. “Reducing antimicrobial resistance will require the political will to adopt new policies, including controlling the use of antimicrobial medicines in human health and animal and food production,” the proposal says. WHO called the antibiotic resistance “the most urgent drug resistance trend.”

The resistance has been noted as one of the most important threats facing humanity where pathogens are becoming increasingly resistant to drugs, affecting treatment for tuberculosis, malaria, influenza, HIV/AIDS, gonorrhea and common infections such as pneumonia and urinary tract infections.

Old medicines no longer work against many diseases, and newer and more potent medicines are also getting useless. It has largely been brought about by overuse in human medicine as well as in agriculture, especially in developed countries like the US. World Health Organization director-general Margaret Chan has called this a post-antibiotic era, meaning that we are living in a world where antibiotics may not work anymore.

The action plan has five objectives — raising awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance; strengthening surveillance and research; reducing incidence of infection; making the best use of antimicrobial medicines; and ensuring investment in countering antimicrobial resistance. Each member state of WHO has now been given two years to develop their own national antimicrobial resistance plan that reflects the principles of the global plan.

“This is a unique time in history where economic progress is actually increasing threats to health instead of reducing them… As the century progressed, more and more first- and second-line antimicrobials failed. The pipeline of replacement products ran dry, raising the spectre of a post-antibiotic era in which common infections will once again kill,” WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan told the delegates last week.

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