A major new multiagency report has demanded immediate, coordinated action to avert a potentially disastrous global antimicrobial-resistance crisis.
If no action is taken, warns the UN Ad hoc Interagency Coordinating Group (IACG) on Antimicrobial Resistance, drug-resistant diseases could cause 10 million deaths annually by 2050 and economic damage as catastrophic as the 2008-2009 global financial crisis. By 2030, antimicrobial resistance could force up to 24 million people into extreme poverty, the report says.
Currently, at least 700,000 people die each year due to drug-resistant diseases, including 230,000 from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.
Recognising that human, animal, food, and environmental health are closely interconnected, the report calls for a coordinated, multisectoral "One Health" approach.
It recommends countries:
- Prioritise national action plans to scale-up financing and capacity-building efforts.
- Put in place stronger regulatory systems and support awareness programmes for responsible and prudent use of antimicrobials by professionals in human, animal, and plant health.
- Invest in ambitious research and development for new technologies to combat antimicrobial resistance.
- Urgently phase out the use of critically important antimicrobials as growth promoters in agriculture.
“This report makes concrete recommendations that could save thousands of lives every year,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation and Co-Chair of the IACG.