Landmark deal to halt rise of superbugs
> World leaders to sign UN declaration to tackle ‘biggest health threat’
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.