News ID: 169031
Published: 0258 GMT September 21, 2016

Global pledge to stamp out drug-resistant infections

Global pledge to stamp out drug-resistant infections

The 193 countries of the United Nations are to sign a landmark declaration to rid the world of drug-resistant infections or 'superbugs'.

Six years in the making, the international commitment could prevent 700,000 deaths a year, say experts, BBC reported.

It is the fourth time a UN declaration has been reached on a health issue — following HIV in 2001, non-communicable diseases in 2011 and Ebola in 2013.

The signatories now have two years to report back with an action plan.

Experts say treatment-resistant infections pose one of the biggest known threats to humanity today.

Without urgent action, it is conceivable that simple infections could soon become entirely untreatable with existing drugs.

The problem has been caused by over-use of antimicrobial medicines for humans, animals and agriculture.

Repeated exposure allows bacteria and other infections, including HIV and malaria, to learn how to dodge these treatments by mutating and evolving.

Unless new effective treatments are found, routine medical procedures such as hip operations and Caesarean sections could become too dangerous to perform.

The nations have committed to:

  • Develop surveillance and regulatory systems on the use and sales of antimicrobial medicines for humans and animals
  • Encourage innovative ways to develop new antibiotics, and improve rapid diagnostics
  • Educate health professionals and the public on how to prevent drug resistant infections
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