Mottley issues rallying call against antimicrobial resistance

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Mottley issues rallying call against antimicrobial resistance
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley. (GP)

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has called on all global leaders to be champions in the fight against Antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Mottley, who co-chairs the Global Leaders Group on AMR, made the call today as she virtually addressed the United Nations General Assembly’s High-Level Interactive Dialogue on AMR.

Describing AMR as a slow motion pandemic, the Prime Minister said it threatened to reverse a century of medical progress. She told her audience: “The challenges of antimicrobial resistance are complex and multifaceted, but they are not insurmountable if we act with solidarity and commitment today.”

She noted that although countries had experienced the health, social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders were also now presented with an opportunity to address the issue of antimicrobial resistance, which threatens to be the greatest killer of human beings by the year 2050.

Mottley suggested there was a need to integrate the response to AMR into future pandemic responses and preparedness plans.

“We cannot afford to let this opportunity pass us by. Political will, as usual, is critical. We need leadership from the top, but leadership must also come from the grassroots in order to convey the gravity of the situation, and to activate leaders and to bring about change.

“We must ask ourselves what will move the needle to the changes in individual behaviour, as it relates to the taking and the overuse of antibiotics or indeed to using food that is as a result of improper practices? What will it take to move the needle with respect to the whole issue of corporate investment such that we can have the appropriate pharmaceuticals necessary to be able to fight the difficult strains that may come and what is necessary to move the needle in terms of global action?”

The Prime Minister said from hospitals and homes to farms and factories, the misuse and overuse of antimicrobial agents, together with unsanitary living and working conditions, threatened a wave of drug resistance and resistant infections that imperilled humans, animals, food supply, commerce and the environment.

Mottley co-chairs the Global Leaders Group on AMR with Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina. 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 disease spread, severe illness and death. The medicines then become ineffective and infections persist in the body, increasing the risk of spread to others.

The Global Leaders Group (GLG) performs an independent, global advisory and advocacy role, with the objective of maintaining urgency, public support, political momentum and visibility of the AMR challenge on the global agenda.

The GLG’s mission is to work globally with governments, agencies, civil society and the private sector to promote a One Health approach and to advocate for political action on responsible and sustainable access to and use of antimicrobials and the mitigation of drug resistant infections. (BGIS)