Antimicrobial resistance contributes to almost 5 million human deaths from bacterial infections alone each year. The AMR occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites no longer respond to the active ingredients, or antimicrobial agents, in medicines used to treat them. When antibiotics and other antimicrobial agents become ineffective, infections become difficult or impossible to treat, increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.
“AMR is directly responsible for approximately 1.27 million deaths annually worldwide with current estimates placing the number of casualties in South Asia at 389 000. It is estimated that by 2050 ten million fatalities will occur annually on a global scale, if no action is taken, costing the global economy a total of one hundred trillion dollars”, said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia.
As the World Antimicrobial resistance Awareness week is being observed from November 18-24, the WHO has said that the AMR coupled with the poor state of research and development investment into new antimicrobials, has put AMR as one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity.
The global health body has called for urgent actions to stop antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The WHO said that there is an urgent need to strengthen AMR governance and leadership in countries, and for additional financial and technical support for countries to develop, prioritize, implement and monitor their national action plans.
“Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) continues to pose a significant challenge to global public health, with devastating effects on the efficacy of essential medicines and the ability to effectively treat infectious diseases. Several factors, including a high population density, limited access to healthcare services, and the misuse and exploitation of antimicrobials, make the South-East Asia region particularly prone to this threat”, said Dr Singh.