The World Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Week takes place from November 18 to 24, 2023, with the aim of enhancing awareness and comprehension of AMR while advocating best practices among One Health stakeholders. The primary goal is to diminish the emergence and transmission of drug-resistant infections.
Theme: “Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together”
- The chosen theme for WAAW 2023 will stay consistent with the previous year – “Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together,” just as it was in 2022.
- Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) poses a significant threat to humans, animals, plants, and the environment, impacting all facets of our interconnected world.
- This year’s theme emphasizes the imperative for collaborative efforts across various sectors to safeguard the efficacy of antimicrobials.
Microbial Adaptation and Antimicrobial Resistance: A Looming Threat to Vulnerable Populations
- Microbes possess the ability to adapt and develop defense mechanisms against antimicrobial agents like antibiotics and antivirals.
- This adaptive process renders antimicrobials less effective, making infections increasingly challenging to treat.
- Vulnerable populations, such as individuals with weakened immune systems due to conditions like cancer or surgical procedures, are particularly at risk.
The Global Impact of AMR
- The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) warns that, if not addressed, AMR could push 24 million people into extreme poverty in the next decade and lead to trillions of dollars in lost GDP.
Drivers Behind AMR
- While AMR is a natural process, certain factors accelerate its progression which include the overuse and misuse of antimicrobials in both human and animal health.
- The agricultural industry plays a substantial role, with approximately 70 percent of global antibiotic sales directed towards it.
- Practices such as routine antibiotic use in animal feed, still prevalent in many parts of the world, contribute to the challenge.
Complex Solutions for a Complex Crisis
- Addressing AMR is complicated by challenges in the pharmaceutical industry. Major players are increasingly abandoning antibiotic development due to high production costs and uncertain revenues.
- Physicians face ethical dilemmas in prescribing new antibiotics, while governments seek to keep antibiotic prices low, fostering increased competition and potential environmental pollution.
Enhancing Cooperation for Effective Solutions
- The fight against AMR necessitates collaboration across regions and sectors. Cooperation should involve not only medical professionals and patients but also hospitals, wastewater plants, and pharmaceutical producers.
- Governments play a crucial role in implementing regulations, providing financing, and fostering collaboration among stakeholders.