Posted by: ihfgeneva | April 30, 2014

IHF – Geneva Health Forum Special Report: Antimicrobial Resistance: A Global Health Challenge. What are the Integrated Solutions?

Presenters proposed potential solutions to the problem of antimicrobial resistance in populations, whilst simultaneously explaining the reasons for their persistence. The increasing prevalence of resistance, particularly in developing countries, was highlighted as well as assessment of its substantial negative impact on mortality and the economy.  Also highlighted was the current phenomenon of over prescription by medical professionals.There exists a high positive correlation in all countries between use of antibiotics prescribed by doctors and levels of antimicrobial resistance in populations, thus suggesting that countries with high resistance rates may be misusing modern medical technologies, igniting long-term suffering on society despite intentions to alleviate short-term sickness of individuals

Other arguments presented on the reasons why this preventable problem continues to impact health systems, included:

ü  Lack of vigilance by the health sector, not only in planning and policies by global and national institutions, but in scant attempts to properly track resistance and its patterns across the world.

ü  Failure to sensitise the health sector to this development.

ü  Difficulties in convincing medical industries to create new medicines only to rigorously regulate their use by practitioners. Such conflicts tend to force clashes between individual and societal values in times of reforms.

ü  Weak leadership at governance level which results in lack of accountability within local circles.  Because no one is willing to accept the risk of administering fewer antibiotics on their own, there is acceptability in health circles of overusing medications in an attempt to save as many lives as possible for the short-term.  Unfortunately, this social failure cultivates a perpetual circle of long-term suffering.

There was consensus, however, that all of these frames were not only relevant, but also interconnected.  A deficiency in leadership and efficiency at top governance levels has trickled down to negatively affect everyday culture and how invested common people are in antimicrobial resistance.  It was agreed that comprehensive reforms that simultaneously address the multiple factors contributing to the prevalence of resistance across the world, are possible.  Individual countries must utilize solidarity to initiate policies that alter outlooks and behaviours of professionals and patients.

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