A very concerned report issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows there are a lot of nations worldwide which have yet to establish any kind of systems for fighting antibiotic resistance.
According to the report, only a quarter of the countries that answered to the WHO survey said they had in place some sort of national plan to conserve antibiotics such as antimicrobial medicines, while many countries must intensify their efforts.
The report bearing the title “Worldwide country situation analysis: Response to antimicrobial resistance,” was published on Wednesday through the Ghana News Agency, provided by WHO Communications Officer Tarik Jašarević.
The results of the survey were outlined in the report, revealing how much initiative is shown in this direction by various governments which are determined to focus on this problem. However, there are a lot of gaps across all six WHO regions in the efforts of stopping the misuse of antibiotics. Reducing the spreading of antimicrobial resistance is not going to be an easy task.
Dr. Keiji Fukuda, Assistant Director-General for Health Security at WHO, said that such efforts are the biggest challenge in the field of infectious diseases. Nowadays, more and more microbes, parasites, and viruses are developing resistance to antibiotics.
Poor results of WHO survey
One of the concerns that need immediate attention is the situation of bacteria growing to be gradually less treatable by medicine we have available today. It’s not an issue limited to just one part of the world, that’s why a collective effort is necessary in order to fight this global threat.
The report is a follow-up from last year, when WHO issued the first red flag warning us of the post-antibiotic era we are entering due to the global extent of antimicrobial resistance.
During 2013 and 2014, 133 countries responded to the WHO survey, and the resulting report is the first to illustrate the way each government assess its own efforts of slowing down resistance to antimicrobial medicines, such as the treatments for malaria, bloodstream infections, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and HIV.
The WHO report includes a summary of each country’s current efforts and the plans established for addressing the issue, as well as pointing out the many important areas that have a lot of room left for improvement.
Dr. Fukuda explained that while current initiatives are laudable, there is so much more work that needs to be done in order for us to fight one of the greatest and most serious worldwide health threats of our time.
He said that WHO commends all the medical practitioners, scientists, and the authorities that have been involved in sounding the warning alarm on the significant effect that ignoring antibiotic resistance might have on our ability to treat both common and serious illnesses.
It was discouraging to find out that only 34 out of the 133 countries that participated in the survey actually had a form of a national plan set in place in the fight against resistance to antibiotics.
Global Action Plan offers a solution
The report pointed out that controlling antibiotic resistance can be done only through proper monitoring. However, a lot of countries lack the laboratory capacity, the infrastructure and data management that would help identify patterns of resistance and predict trends and epidemics.
A lot of countries also lacked appropriate treatment guidelines, which leads to a widespread sale of antimicrobial medicines without prescription. This situation generally increases the misuse and overuse of antibiotics by both the public and medical officers.
Another important conclusion of the report is that, in most regions, public awareness about the issue is very low, with many people still convinced that viral infections are easily treatable with antibiotics. Also, a lot of the countries participating in the survey lacked prevention programs and a proper control of hospital-acquired infections.
In response to the survey’s poor results, WHO has partnered with countries and drafted a Global Action Plan in order to slow down antimicrobial resistance; the draft will be part of the discussions at the sixty-eighth World Health Assembly that will take place in May 15.
Governments will be requested to approve the plan, which means they will take an official pledge to commit to addressing this global health threat.
If the Global Action Plan will be eventually implemented, a lot of countries which now lack comprehensive national plans will start developing them as well as strengthen existing plans in countries which are already doing something in this direction.
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