Antimicrobial resistance – people at risk of dying of common infections

28 May 2015

Every year, as many as 500 000 people die from common infections, as they can no longer be treated with antibiotics due to antimicrobial resistance. This situation also has an impact on the economy, with a cost of about 1.5 billion euro for increased healthcare cost and loss of productivity in the EU alone. And the problem is steadily growing. Antimicrobial resistance is a global problem requiring concerted global action.

WHO’s global action plan

One of the actions to combat antimicrobial resistance is WHOs global action plan, which was initiated in May 2014, was adopted on 25 May at the World Health Assembly in Geneva in Switzerland. This means that all governments agreed on to have a national action plan on antimicrobial resistance, that is aligned with the global action plan, ready by May 2017.

The global plan contains actions such as reducing the use of antibiotics, better hygiene and encouraging the development of new medicines and treatments. One of the key elements of the plan is infection prevention.

Antimicrobial resistance is a very severe problem, and in some countries antibiotics is prescribed like candy. There is a need for a global action plan since antibiotic resistance is a global question, which needs to be solved jointly, says Gabriel Wikström, Swedish Minister for Public Health, Health Care and Sport.

Healthcare associated infections a challenge

Healthcare associated infections (HAI) and the spread of multi resistant bacteria is one of the greatest threats to public health and the modern healthcare system. Medical devices account for more than 50 percent of HAI, since they often enable a passage between the patient’s body and the external environment.

The greatest risk of getting an infection, caused by multi-resistant bacteria, is when you are hospitalized. Resistant bacteria are much more common at hospitals than in society, says Thomas Tängdén, Infectious Disease Specialist at Uppsala University Hospital.

Prevention is key

Infections in the urinary tract, respiratory tract and the bloodstream are three of the most common areas for healthcare associated infections. Prevention is key to reducing these infections and increasing patient safety.

By using Bactiguard-coated catheters for these three areas, we can reduce the patient suffering and mortality, reduce the time patients have to spend in hospital and minimize the use of antibiotics, says Niels Christiansen, CEO Bactiguard.

WHOs global action plan:

  1. Increase awareness about antimicrobial and antibiotic resistance.
  2. Increase knowledge and increase science through surveillance and research.
  3. Reduce the amount of infections by preventive solutions.
  4. Antibiotics should be used wisely both for humans and animals.
  5. All countries should have a long-term and sustainable plan and financing, taking every country specific situation into consideration.

Facts about the World Health Assembly:

The World Health Assembly is a decision-making body of the WHO, attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focused on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board. The main functions of the forum are to determine the policies of the Organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed program budget. The meetings are held annually in Geneva, Switzerland.