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Ahead Of U.N. General Assembly Meeting, Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Need For Global Action On Antimicrobial Resistance

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Time for global political action on antimicrobial resistance
Editorial Board

“…What coordinated actions can governments take to ensure that future generations enjoy the benefits of antimicrobials? … The heart of the problem … is findings ways to expand appropriate access to antimicrobials while at the same time restricting inappropriate use. Possible ways out of this conundrum are as complex as its causes. The O’Neill Review suggests nine interventions, which include global public awareness, improvements in sanitation and hygiene, reducing use of antimicrobials in agriculture, improved surveillance of resistance and antimicrobial consumption, new diagnostics, promotion of vaccines and other alternatives to antimicrobials, making infectious diseases a more attractive career for scientists and doctors, and funding and incentives for research and investment in new drugs. … Because … there is no politically motivated denial of antimicrobial resistance, we have some hope that governments can work together to achieve a sustainable future for antimicrobials” (October 2016).

Scientific American: Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria and the World’s Peril
Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations

“…[A]s the United Nations General Assembly convenes on September 21 to debate measures aimed at preserving the utility of antibiotics to protect human health, I wish they would consider the well-being of the entire planet. We are tempting fate every time a person takes antibiotics mistakenly to treat a viral infection, a cow is fattened with pounds of ‘growth promoters,’ a pool of salmon are dosed with antibiotics in aquaculture settings, and the daily kilotons of human waste pour into the world’s rivers and seas. I wish the U.N. and the political leaders of the world would contemplate what killing off species of oxygen-producing microbes, of methane-eating bacteria, or of human gut beneficial microbes will mean for the future of Earth” (9/19).

Project Syndicate: On Antimicrobial Resistance, It’s Now or Never
Jim O’Neill, commercial secretary to the U.K. Treasury, honorary professor at Manchester University, visiting research fellow at Bruegel, and chair of the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance; and Eric Goosby, U.N. special envoy on tuberculosis

“…As the largest, most inclusive global governance forum we have, the U.N. is the only institution that can marshal the resources and leadership commitments the problem [of antimicrobial resistance (AMR)] demands. But the U.N. will be effective only if it takes some crucial steps. First, U.N. member states should begin to integrate their responses to AMR across all regulatory bodies and relevant sectors, including health care, agriculture, and finance. … Second, to keep things on track, the U.N. should establish clear benchmarks, based on measurable outcomes, and it should commit to putting AMR back on the General Assembly’s agenda every two years. … Finally, the U.N. should appoint a special envoy for AMR to ensure continued progress in the coming years. … If we fail to hold our leaders’ feet to the fire, the consequences for everyone could be deadly” (9/20).

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