Land­mark deal to halt rise of su­per­bugs

> World lead­ers to sign UN dec­la­ra­tion to tackle ‘big­gest health threat’

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

NEW YORK: World lead­ers are poised to sign a “land­mark” UN dec­la­ra­tion and com­mit £600 mil­lion (RM3.2 bil­lion) to fight­ing what has been termed “our big­gest global health threat” – an­tibi­otics.

The rise of so-called “su­per­bugs” that are re­sis­tant to an­tibi­otic treat­ments, and the threat they pose to mod­ern medicine, will be recog­nised in a pledge signed by of­fi­cials from 193 coun­tries at the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly in New York.

It fol­lows a UK-led drive to raise aware­ness of the po­ten­tial im­pact of an­timi­cro­bial re­sis­tance, which Eng­land’s chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer Pro­fes­sor Sally Davies de­scribed as “the great­est fu­ture threat to our civil­i­sa­tion”.

“This dec­la­ra­tion is the cul­mi­na­tion of six years of hard work and I am ex­tremely proud that every UN mem­ber state is now en­gaged in the enor­mous task of tack­ling the great­est fu­ture threat to our civil­i­sa­tion.

“Drug-re­sis­tant in­fec­tions are firmly on the global agenda, but now the real work be­gins. We need govern­ments, the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try, health pro­fes­sion­als and the agri­cul­tural sec­tor to fol­low through on their com­mit­ments to save mod­ern medicine,” Davies said.

Every sig­na­tory of the UN dec­la­ra­tion will agree to de­velop sur­veil­lance and reg­u­la­tory sys­tems on the use and sales of an­timi­cro­bial medicines for hu­mans and an­i­mals, en­cour­age in­no­va­tive ways to de­velop new an­tibi­otics, ed­u­cate health pro­fes­sion­als and raise pub­lic aware­ness on how to pre­vent drug-re­sis­tant in­fec­tions.

The spe­cial meet­ing early to­day will be only the fourth time in its 70-year his­tory that the UN has met specif­i­cally to dis­cuss a health is­sue.

If an­tibi­otics lose their ef­fec­tive­ness then key med­i­cal pro­ce­dures – in­clud­ing gut surgery, cae­sarean sec­tions, joint re­place­ments and chemo­ther­apy – could be­come too dan­ger­ous to per­form.

Health lead­ers from around the world have raised se­ri­ous con­cerns about the grow­ing re­sis­tance to an­timi­cro­bial drugs, which de­stroy harm­ful mi­crobes.

An­tibi­otics are the best known of these drugs, but there are oth­ers – such as an­tivi­rals, an­ti­malar­ial drugs and an­ti­fun­gals.

“An­timi­cro­bial re­sis­tance is per­haps our big­gest global health threat – it could nul­lify the progress of over a cen­tury of mod­ern medicine and kill mil­lions,” UK health sec­re­tary Jeremy Hunt said.

“So I am proud that this coun­try has ral­lied the in­ter­na­tional ac­tion nec­es­sary to tackle the prob­lem.” – The In­de­pen­dent

... A crocodile with a used mo­tor­cy­cle tyre around its neck is seen near a river in the city of Palu in In­done­sia’s Cen­tral Su­lawesi prov­ince on Tues­day in this pic­ture taken by An­tara Foto. Lo­cals sus­pect the tyre was garbage thrown into the river be­fore it be­came trapped around the crocodile’s neck.

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