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Sheikh Hasina made co-chair of group on antimicrobial resistance

  • Published at 02:16 pm November 21st, 2020
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
Sheikh Hasina: 74 years for the people Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Resistance has grown in recent years due to overuse of such drugs in humans and also in farm animals

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been made co-chair of One Health Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) along with Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Amor Mottley.

AMR made an announcement in this regard on Friday. It will remain effective for three years, reports BSS.

‘One Health Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)’, a group jointly initiated by World Health Organisation (WHO), Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and World Organisation for Animal Health (Oie), was created in response to a recommendation from the Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance and supported by the UN Secretary-General.

WHO: Antimicrobial resistance as dangerous as pandemic

The WHO warned on Friday that growing antimicrobial resistance is every bit as dangerous as the coronavirus pandemic -- and threatens to reverse a century of medical progress, reports AFP.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called the issue "one of the greatest health threats of our time."

Resistance is when bugs become immune to existing drugs -- antibiotic, antiviral or antifungal treatments -- rendering minor injuries and common infections potentially deadly.

Resistance has grown in recent years due to overuse of such drugs in humans and also in farm animals.

"Antimicrobial resistance may not seem as urgent as a pandemic but it is just as dangerous," Tedros told a virtual press conference.

"It threatens to unwind a century of medical progress and leave us defenceless against infections that today can be treated easily," he said.

The WHO said antimicrobial resistance was endangering food security, economic development and the planet's ability to fight diseases.

Resistance has led to increased health care costs, hospital admissions, treatment failures, severe illnesses and deaths, the UN health agency said.

The WHO joined forces with the Food and Agriculture Organization and with the World Organization for Animal Health to launch a new group to advocate for urgent action to combat the threat.

The One Health Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance will bring together heads of government, company chief executives and civil society leaders.

The group is co-chaired by Prime Ministers Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh and Mia Mottley of Barbados.

"We need worldwide coordinated actions to monitor the nature of infections, to implement required control measures and raise global awareness against the widespread use of antibiotics," Hasina said

Death toll warning

Discovered in the 1920s, antibiotics have saved tens of millions of lives by seeing off bacterial diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and meningitis.

But over the decades, bacteria have learned to fight back, building resistance to the same drugs that once reliably vanquished them -- turning into so-called "superbugs."

 The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations said superbugs were already taking a heavy toll.

"About 700,000 people globally die each year due to antimicrobial resistance," the IFPMA said in a statement welcoming the new group. 

"Without strong action to ensure appropriate use of existing antibiotics, as well as new and better treatments, that figure could rise to 10 million by 2050."

Tedros said that while antibiotics are a key focus, antimicrobial resistance also included resistance to medicines for HIV, malaria and neglected tropical diseases.

The Covid-19 pandemic was a "stark reminder" that human health cannot be advanced while disregarding the health of animals and the environment, he added.

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 1.36 million people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, while nearly 56.9 million cases have been registered, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP.

Turning to the pandemic, Tedros said more cases had been reported in the past four weeks than in the first six months, while hospitals and their intensive care units were filling up across Europe and North America.

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