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Global Health Threat: Antimicrobial Resistance – A Call to Intensify Actions

A call to action has once again been made as antimicrobial resistance (AMR) continues to be recognized as one of the top ten global health threats. This clarion call was echoed by global experts, including notable voices from India, during discussions at the 77th World Health Assembly – the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO). Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, underscored the severity of this growing health crisis, which has already become the leading cause of untimely deaths across the globe. He poignantly pointed out that every minute, more than two people lose their lives due to AMR, highlighting the urgency of this crisis. 

AMR not only poses an imminent threat to human health but also has repercussions for animal health and other sectors, threatening to unravel centuries of progress. Dr. Kamini Walia, Convener and Co-Chairperson of the Scientific Committee of Global AMR Media Alliance (GAMA), emphasized the high rates of mortality, morbidity, and economic loss inflicted by AMR on low-and middle-income countries, including India. Countries across Asia and Africa have reported worrisome upticks in drug resistance, but efforts to contain AMR remain sporadic and fragmented. 

Dr. Walia, a senior AMR scientist at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), urged countries to invest in strengthening healthcare systems and prioritizing prevention strategies, such as infection control in hospitals and wider communities, as well as vaccinations. Similarly, Dr. Ramanan Laxminarayan of One Health Trust called for a ‘One Health’ approach, recognizing connections between human health, animal health, food, agriculture, and our environment. 

The overarching theme is advocating for a consolidated effort to tackle AMR across the globe. The United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting (UNHLM) scheduled for September this year is set to discuss AMR at length.


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