‘Anti-microbial resistance causing 1.27m deaths globally every year’

The current estimates place the number of casualties in South Asia at 389,000, as stated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Saturday.

Published: 19th November 2023 09:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th November 2023 09:02 AM   |  A+A-

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NEW DELHI: Antimicrobial Resistance (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, as stated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Saturday.

On the occasion of World AMR Awareness Week, the WHO emphasised that AMR continues to pose a major 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 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 Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia.

“If no action is taken now, it is estimated that by 2050, 10 million fatalities will occur annually on a global scale, costing the global economy a total of 100 trillion dollars,” she said.

Dr Singh, quoting a report y the World Bank, mentioned that antimicrobial resistance will be responsible for a decrease of up to 3.8 per cent in global exports, a decrease of 7.5 per cent per year in livestock production, and an increase of $1 trillion in healthcare-related costs by 2050.

“Addressing AMR entails interdisciplinary collaboration that transcends geographical, professional and disciplinary barriers. Therefore, our region has been taking proactive measures to combat AMR,” Dr Singh said, emphasized that preventing anti-microbial resistance is not a responsibility that can be borne by any one individual, organisation or country; it is a collective effort that requires our unwavering commitment.

In 2011, via the Jaipur Declaration on Antimicrobial Resistance, the health ministers of the South-East Asia region urged coordinated action against AMR. In 2014, the fight against AMR was elevated to flagship priority status. Since then, WHO has been supporting member states on implementation of AMR national action plans more effectively.

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