The discovery and development of
antimicrobials, also called "miracle
drugs", has been one of the most important advances in the history
of modern medicine. However, these magic bullets are losing their efficacy
due to the development of antimicrobial resistance. Infections caused by
multi-drug resistant organisms have a higher morbidity and mortality, and
the treatment is longer and more expensive.
Antimicrobial resistance is a serious problem that
strikes at the core of infectious disease control. Multi-drug resistant
organisms are an epidemiological concern, as they may spread locally,
regionally or globally through individual contacts, poor sanitation, travel
or the food chain. Antimicrobial resistance and its global spread,
threatens not only the continued effectiveness of antimicrobials, but also
risks jeopardizing global health security. Therefore, the World Health
Organization (WHO) declared antimicrobial resistance as the theme for the
World Health Day 2011.
Message from the WHO
Representative to India
Health Day 2011 Brochure (Pdf)
Antimicrobial resistance is not a new problem but one
that is becoming more dangerous; urgent and consolidated efforts are needed to
avoid regressing to the pre-antibiotic era.
To underline the importance of growing antimicrobial
resistance, WHO has selected combating antimicrobial resistance as the
theme for World Health Day 2011.On World Health Day 2011, WHO will
introduce a six-point policy package to combat the spread of antimicrobial resistance.
We live in an era in which we depend on antibiotics,
and other antimicrobial medicines to treat conditions that decades ago, or even a few years ago, as
in the case of HIV/AIDS, would have proved fatal. When antimicrobial
resistance - also known as drug resistance - occurs, it renders these
medicines ineffective. For World Health Day 2011, WHO will be calling for
intensified global commitment to safeguard these medicines for future generations. Antimicrobial
resistance - the theme of World Health Day 2011 - and its global spread,
threatens the continued effectiveness of many medicines used today to treat
Considering the above, WHO will call on governments
and stakeholders to implement policies and practices needed to prevent and
counter the emergence of highly resistant microorganisms.
Antimicrobial resistance also known as drug
resistance occurs when microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi
and parasites change in ways that render the medications used to cure the
infections they cause ineffective. When the microorganisms become resistant
to most antimicrobials they
are often referred to as superbugs.
This is a major concern because a resistant infection may kill, can spread
to others, and imposes huge costs to individuals and society.
Antimicrobial resistance is facilitated by
the inappropriate use of medicines, for example, when taking lower doses or
not completing a prescribed course of treatment. Low-quality medicines,
wrong prescriptions and poor infection prevention and control also
encourage the development and spread of drug resistance.
The emergence of AMR is a complex problem driven by
many interconnected factors; single, isolated interventions have little
impact. A global and national multi-sectoral response is urgently needed to combat the growing threat of
WHO calls on all key stakeholders, including
policy-makers and planners, the public and patients, practitioners and prescribers, pharmacists and dispensers, and the
pharmaceutical industry, to act and take responsibility for combating
antimicrobial resistance. On World Health Day 2011, WHO will introduce a
six-point policy package to combat the spread of antimicrobial resistance:
to a comprehensive, financed national plan with accountability and civil
surveillance and laboratory capacity
uninterrupted access to essential medicines of assured quality
and promote rational use of medicines, including in animal husbandry, and
ensure proper patient care
use of antimicrobials in food-producing animals
infection prevention and control
innovations and research and development for new tools