New Delhi, November 18
With new global estimates revealing nearly 5 million human deaths worldwide due to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday called for urgent action to counter the threat, which the global body has listed as one of the top 10 dangers for the world.
Of the five million AMR-related deaths, 1.3 million were directly attributable to bacterial AMR.
Marking the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week starting today in this backdrop, the WHO stressed urgent need for sustained multi-sectoral action to prevent and contain AMR, which occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines, making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of spread of disease, severe illness and death.
In a high-impact scenario, the AMR will reduce global annual GDP by 3.8 per cent by 2050, the WHO said.
It added that if left unchecked, in the next decade, AMR could result in a GDP shortfall of USD 3.4 trillion annually, pushing 24 million more people into extreme poverty.
The call for action is even more urgent for India, which houses one of the highest burdens of AMR globally.
The Indian Council of Medical Research, in its fifth AMR report published in September, found severe disease-causing bacteria to be resistant to top class antibiotics in 87.5 per cent of hospitalised patients tested for the AMR. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia, said: “Since 2014, preventing and combating the AMR has been one of eight flagship priorities of the WHO South-East Asia Region, which is at a high risk for the emergence and spread of the AMR.”
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines, making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of spread of disease, severe illness and death
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