The Global Response To AMR: Momentum, Success, And Critical Gaps

Wellcome Trust, an independent global charitable foundation, released a report titled The Global Response to AMR: Momentum, Success, And Critical Gaps on November 17, 2020.

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR): A Public Health Concern

  • Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a growing public health concern in every country in the world.
  • It already causes at least 700,000 deaths due to drug-resistant infections per year globally, a number that may increase to 10 million per year by 2050 – unless significant action is taken.
  • AMR is not only reversing recent gains made in controlling infectious diseases but also undermining improvements in healthcare provision in general.
  • Its broader health effects include threatening the safety of many healthcare interventions that are today seen as routine, including chemotherapy, organ transplants and other major surgeries.
  • As antimicrobial drugs lose their efficacy due to AMR, risks of prolonged hospital stays or additional surgical interventions increase substantially.
  • The need to deal with AMR will burden health systems already struggling with cost inflation, and the damage to national economies resulting from increasing illness and death will further hit health budgets.
  • These health and economic burdens will disproportionately fall on low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), preventing attainment of Sustainable Development Goals.

Core Findings Of The Report

This report provides a comprehensive update on the status quo, recent developments, and remaining critical gaps in the AMR response globally.

A core finding stands out: the next few years will define the trajectory of the long-term AMR response and how successful it can be.

The AMR community has achieved notable recent successes:

AMR has achieved prominence on the global political agenda: It has moved from a largely technical topic to a political one – a precondition for building an enabling environment that secures funding, awareness, and leadership. The 2016 UN General Assembly Political Declaration raised AMR’s international profile as a pressing concern. Some of the global momentum may have waned since then, especially given Covid-19, but political awareness of AMR remains – at least for now.

The AMR community is a broad, multi-sectoral coalition of actors aware of, and willing to tackle, AMR: Among this community, there is an unprecedented commitment to an approach spanning sectors including human health, animals and agriculture, and the environment.

The discovery-stage and translational research environment is robustly funded: Significant funds have been made available for early-stage research since 2016, especially on new therapeutics. Moreover, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, additional push funding has been launched in 2020, including the $1 billion AMR Action Fund.

This enabling environment for action on AMR is at risk of irreparably weakening. Three critical gaps drive this risk:

  • Ambitions have not always translated into meaningful action
  • Prioritisation is increasingly emerging as a gap

The Global Response to AMR

One of the key outcomes of the Political Declaration was the creation of an Interagency Coordination Group (IACG) on Antimicrobial Resistance, tasked to draft a set of recommendations on future global action on AMR to the UN Secretary General. The IACG’s final report was released and presented to the UN Secretary General in April 2019.

It made recommendations in five areas:

  • Accelerate progress on a national level: Ensure access, accelerate development and implementation of National Action Plans (NAPs), and phase out antimicrobials for livestock growth promotion.
  • Innovate to secure the future: Increase investment into new antimicrobials, strengthen access initiatives, and strengthen research coordination and collaboration.
  • Collaborate for more effective action: Systematically engage civil society groups and the private sector.
  • Invest for a sustainable response: Include an AMR lens in investments across all public and private investor classes and increase domestic and donor funding dedicated directly to AMR.
  • Strengthen accountability and global governance: Enhance capacity for the Tripartite and develop a Global Development and Stewardship Framework.

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