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May 23, 2019

GHTC statement on UN High-Level Meeting on AMR delivered at WHA

The following statement—from Global Health Council supported by Global Health Technologies Coalition, Global Water 2020, and Infectious Diseases Society of America—was delivered at the 72nd World Health Assembly on agenda item 11.8: Follow-up to the high-level meetings of the United Nations General Assembly on health-related issues, Antimicrobial Resistance.

Global Health Council supported by the Global Health Technologies Coalition, Global Water 2020 and the Infectious Diseases Society of America are pleased to see attention focused on antimicrobial resistance. AMR threatens to roll back medical progress by further complicating treatment of tuberculosis, pneumonia, malaria, typhoid, diarrheal diseases, and hospital-associated infections. Cancer chemotherapy, transplantation and other complex surgeries all rely upon the availability of antibiotics. We applaud recognition of the need for new antimicrobials, diagnostics and vaccines as well as stewardship, surveillance, infection prevention and control, and access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene in healthcare facilities to effectively combat AMR. We hope that WHO and member states continue progress toward the commitments made at the UN High Level Meeting on AMR.

Innovation and R&D must be at the heart of any agenda to tackle AMR. In April 2019 one of the few companies in the antibiotic market—Achaogen—entered bankruptcy, despite having launched an important new antibiotic last year. This news sent a devastating signal to investors, who were already shying away from antibiotic development. New incentives are needed to protect the antibiotic pipeline.  

We appreciate the increasing number of countries providing data to the GLASS surveillance system, though we recognize the need to expand this effort to include additional countries and more robust data. We appreciate the support WHO and member states are providing for the implementation of stewardship and infection prevention programs, but recognize that significantly more resources are needed for widespread meaningful uptake. Further investment in resources needed to prevent infections, and thus prevent the need for antibiotic use, is essential.  National action plans are a useful tool to drive all of this progress.

We thank WHO for continued efforts and encourage member states prioritize AMR investments.


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