WHO lays out priorities in battle against antimicrobial resistance
The World Health Organization (WHO) last week published its strategic priorities for tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
The document lays out four strategic priority areas that incorporate what the WHO says are the essential components of the AMR response at global, regional, and country levels. It also lists the key achievements and the next steps that need to be taken in those four areas.
The first priority area is strengthening and developing a common vision for the global structures responsible for coordinating a multisectoral AMR response. These include groups such as the Tripartite Joint Secretariat on AMR and the Global Leaders Group on AMR, which were established to lead the global AMR response.
The WHO says one of the next steps for these groups is to establish a panel to define and support evidence-based policies against AMR across the One Health spectrum, which includes human health, animal health, food systems, and the environment.
Priority area number two is addressing the public health impact of AMR in every country by supporting continued development and implementation of National AMR Action Plans (NAPs), which to date have been established in 148 countries but have been implemented and funded in far fewer. Among the next steps to be taken is development of tools to review and assess NAP implementation and funding in countries.
For strategic priority area three—better access to quality AMR prevention and care—the WHO says a key next step will be operationalizing the SECURE initiative, a program developed by the WHO and the Global Antibiotic Research & Development Partnership to expand access to essential antibiotics.
Strategic priority area number four is strengthening surveillance systems and mechanisms for collecting, reporting, and disseminating AMR data. To build on one of the key achievements to date in this area—the creation of the Global Antimicrobial Resistance and Use Surveillance System—the document calls for establishing a WHO AMR dashboard to monitor the global AMR response and developing and implementing national AMR surveys.
May 18 WHO strategic priorities on AMR
G7 Health Ministers commit to addressing antimicrobial resistance
The G7 Health Ministers late last week highlighted the "silent pandemic" of AMR as one of their primary health priorities.
In a communique issued after their May 19-20 meeting in Berlin, the health ministers of the G7 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States) called AMR an "urgent public health and socio-economic problem" that will affect the entire globe but have a significant impact on low- and middle-income countries. Acknowledging AMR as a shared responsibility, they committed to "taking further urgent and tangible action" to address the issue.
Among the actions they committed to are establishing new and/or improving existing national integrated surveillance systems on AMR and antibiotic use in the human, animal, plant production, and environmental sectors; promoting prudent and appropriate use of antimicrobials and encouraging antimicrobial stewardship; strengthening implementation of Infection Prevention and Control Programs across the One Health spectrum; and strengthening the research and development pipeline for new antibiotics.
The communique also addressed the economic challenges that have stymied the development of new antibiotics and the need for G7 countries to develop incentives to bolster investment in the antibiotic pipeline.
"We acknowledge that it is essential to ensure a sustainable market for existing as well as new antibiotics," the group wrote. "This includes appropriate steps to address antibiotic market failure and to ensure the commercialisation and provision of existing and new antibiotics for unmet public health needs while taking into account stewardship and equitable access."
They added, "Recognising country-specific circumstances and member state competences, we will explore a range of market incentive options, with a particular emphasis on supporting relevant pull incentives."
The other priorities addressed in the communique and included in the G7 Health Track included working together to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, strengthening capacities to respond to new pandemics, and addressing the health risks of climate change.
May 20 G7 communique