WHO urges action against antimicrobial resistance in the Western Pacific Region

News release

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a serious threat to global public health that places the lives and the well-being of the people in the Western Pacific Region at risk. AMR has the potential to damage trade and economies, increase the cost of health care and hamper the control of infectious diseases.

“Antimicrobial resistance threatens the effective prevention and treatment of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi,” says WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific Dr Shin Young-soo. “Action across all government sectors and society is required now if we don’t want to face a new post-antibiotic era.”

Antimicrobial resistance is when bacteria or other microbes become resistant to the effects of a drug after being exposed to it. This means that antimicrobial drugs are no longer effective against those resistant microbes. This is a major concern because resistant microbes may kill, spread to others and impose huge costs to individuals and society.

The use and misuse of antimicrobial drugs accelerates the emergence of drug-resistant strains of microorganisms. Poor infection control practices, inadequate sanitary conditions and inappropriate food handling also encourage the further spread of AMR.

In order to strengthen the response to various threats posed by AMR in the Region, the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific hosted a meeting titled Consultation for Priority Actions on Antimicrobial Resistance in the Western Pacific Region from 30 July – 1 August 2014 in Manila.

The meeting called for a multisectoral approach to AMR with increased political awareness, leadership and commitment to develop national action plans for containment of AMR. Participants also emphasized the need for regular monitoring of AMR in the Region and measuring the consumption and use of antimicrobials in all relevant sectors. Additionally, participants highlighted the need for strengthening health systems to effectively contain the spread of drug resistant infections by improving responsible use of antimicrobials, enforcing stronger regulations and enhancing infection prevention control.

WHO is guiding the response to AMR by:

  • bringing all stakeholders together to agree on and works towards a coordinated response;
  • strengthening national stewardship and plans to tackle AMR;
  • generating policy guidance and providing technical support for Member States; and
  • actively encouraging innovation, research and development.

For further information, please contact:

Mr Ruel E. Serrano
Assistant, Public Information Office
Telephone: +632 528 9993
Email: serranor@wpro.who.int