November 24, 2022 – This week, the world marks World Antimicrobial Awareness Week with a call to encourage policymakers, health workers and the general public to adopt best practices to prevent the emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections and for all sectors to use it prudently of antimicrobial medicines and strengthen preventive measures to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as part of the One Health approach.
Under the theme “Together, Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance,” this year’s World Antimicrobial Awareness Week will focus on the global AMR threat and how to mobilize collective action to respond.
Antimicrobial resistance – often referred to as a silent pandemic – is an ongoing global challenge that threatens recent advances in human and animal health and well-being, the environment, food and nutrition security, and economic growth and development. This silent pandemic causes at least 1.3 million deaths each year.
Despite its huge toll in WHO’s eastern Mediterranean region, addressing the threat has often been overshadowed by other competing public health priorities, particularly in emergency situations.
“We are now at a crossroads. Unless we control and stop the abuse and overuse of antimicrobial drugs, it will become increasingly difficult or impossible to treat simple infections in the future. We MUST act now,” said Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.
To combat antimicrobial resistance, the WHO works closely with partner organizations dealing with animal and environmental health as part of a One Health approach. National, regional and global policy commitments in implementing One Health policies need to be strengthened to control the spread of AMR and its impact on human, animal, environmental, economic growth and development, and food and nutrition security and prevent security.
Since the adoption of the Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance at the World Health Assembly in May 2015, our region has achieved several important milestones. All countries have developed national AMR action plans and reported antimicrobial surveillance data to the WHO Global Antimicrobial Surveillance System. More than 70% of Eastern Mediterranean countries have also put in place national infection prevention and control programmes, which are being expanded across the region.
“While these achievements need to be celebrated, we have much more to do. In the spirit of our regional vision, “Health for All through All,” let us work together to actively counter the growing deadly AMR threat to save our future generations,” added Dr. Al-Mandhari added.
To renew the commitment of global leaders, enhance international cooperation and accelerate action to combat antimicrobial resistance, a third global high-level ministerial conference on antimicrobial resistance will be held in Muscat, Oman on November 24-25, 2022 Ministers of Health, Agriculture , animal health, environment and finance, as well as policy makers, key global experts and representatives from the private sector, civil society, research institutes and multilateral organizations.
Countries are urged to support the Muscat Ministerial Manifesto and commit to review, update or revise national antimicrobial resistance action plans in line with the One Health approach. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the United Nations Environment Programme, WHO and the World Organization for Animal Health, collectively known as the Quadripartite, will provide the necessary sector-specific technical assistance and normative and policy guidance.
World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2022