Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) remains a monumental challenge for health systems, professionals and policymakers all over the world. Like a pandemic, it does not distinguish between borders and income, even though some countries are more affected than others, and reliable data is often hard to come by.
Identified as one of the top 10 global health threats by the World Health Organization (WHO), AMR is major cause of deaths and, with fatalities linked to drug-resistant infections growing every year, it burdens health systems and hurts economic activity.
This policy brief highlights the impact of AMR and the challenges in countering the phenomenon. The brief provides recommendations on how to structure the approach to combat the spread of and fight antimicrobial resistance, namely by combining knowledge from an array of fields, including public-private collaborations, promoting and enhancing technology transfers, and more. Ultimately, it is essential that civil society continues to maintain the issue of AMR on the public agenda, at national, regional, and global levels.
- Government’s public support for early research on antimicrobials and related technologies, through public research institutions or in partnership with private actors, should be acknowledged with accessibility clauses and guarantees of public return on public investment. Priority should be given to the development of affordable and accessible diagnostics.
- Intergovernmental Organisations Initiatives, such as the Quadripartite, should continue and the Antimicrobial Resistance Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Platform be consolidated as a mechanism to exchange and share information; other organs like WHO R&D observatory or FAO AMR Working Group should engage bilaterally and coordinate interactions with Member States. Closer synergies, shared priorities, should be sought with the Global Leaders Group on Anti-Microbial Resistance.
- Pharmaceutical industry must collaborate with governments and international organisations in assessing the pipeline for effective antibiotics and diagnostics; this would require disclosing research data, including clinical trials and compounds libraries.
- Civil society must keep AMR on the public agenda at national, regional and global levels, with special emphasis to the plight of the health systems in low- and middle-income countries, the consequences of increasing AMR rates in environmental settings, and the lack of sustained investment in the development and delivery of affordable and accessible diagnostics.