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UAE Press Agency: Antimicrobial resistance is a global challenge

ABU DHABI, April 30, 2019 (WAM) – A UAE newspaper said continued use of antibiotics is posing a grave risk to humanity and that the world needs to wake up to danger before it is too late.

In an innovative report, the Ad Hoc Ad Hoc Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance warned that if no action is taken, drug-resistant diseases can cause 10 million deaths each year by 2050 and damage to the economy as catastrophic as during year of 2008. Global financial crisis of 2009.

By 2030, antimicrobial resistance could force up to 24 million people to extreme poverty, according to the World Health Organization, WHO and its partners.

"Currently, at least 700,000 people die each year from drug-resistant diseases, including 230,000 people dying of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis," The Gulf Today said in an editorial on Tuesday.

A serious note should be given to the fact that increasingly common diseases, including respiratory and urinary tract infections, as well as sexually transmitted infections, are intractable; Life-saving medical procedures are becoming much more risky, and food systems are becoming increasingly precarious.

While it is known that resistance to antibiotics is inevitable over time, what is worrying is that it has been sped up by drug abuse. When the most common antibiotics stop working, more expensive types are prescribed, resulting in diseases and longer treatments, often in the hospital. Cases are increasingly reported in which no existing drug works.

"The United Arab Emirates deserve praise not only for being on their guard but also for taking concrete steps to meet the challenge," added the editorial comment.

Tireless efforts being made by the Ministry of Health and Prevention, MoHAP, in cooperation with relevant public and private health agencies, have resulted in a reduction in the use of antibiotics by up to 43%, according to recent studies conducted at the Sheikh Khalifa Hospital in Abu Dhabi. .

Concern over antibiotic resistance is not unfounded. In fact, the problem, a hallmark of medicine since Alexander Fleming's discovery of the first antibiotic, penicillin in 1928, has worsened in recent years as drug-resistant bugs have developed and pharmaceutical companies have cut investments.

New mechanisms of resistance emerge and spread globally, threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases, resulting in death and disability of individuals who until recently could continue a normal course of life.

More investment in research and development for antibiotic-resistant infections, including tuberculosis, is the need of the hour. Reducing the use of antibiotics and rewarding pharmaceutical companies for the development of new medicines remains the best way forward.

Resistance to antibiotics is a global health emergency. Recognizing that human, animal, food and environmental health are closely interlinked, the WHO report called for a coordinated and multisectoral approach to "One Health" and all countries should follow the valuable suggestions.

There is a need to prioritize national action plans to increase funding and capacity-building efforts. Stronger regulatory systems and supportive awareness programs for the responsible and prudent use of antimicrobials by human, animal, and plant health professionals should be implemented.

"There is also an extreme need to invest in research and development of new technologies to combat antimicrobial resistance," the daily Sharjah daily concluded.

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