The United Nations general assembly convened to discuss the growing impact of ‘superbugs,’ or infections with anti-microbial resistance (AMR), on global development on Sept 21 (Reuters; UN). This is the fourth time a UN summit has been called regarding health matters; the previous three focused on Ebola, AIDS/HIV and non-communicable diseases, respectively (NY; Reuters). UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that ‘superbugs’ will “undermine sustainable food production” and “put the sustainable development goals in jeopardy” (Guardian). The 193 member states pledged to develop national action plans, strengthen monitoring systems, tighten regulations on antimicrobial medicine, and encourage international cooperation and funding (Retuers).
The meeting came about due to a study published by the World Bank Group (WBG), a global bank that helps developing countries, on Sept 19 (WP). WBG showed that ‘superbugs’ could cause low-income countries to lose more than 5% of their GDP and push around 28 million people into poverty by 2050 (WBG). On Sept 20, thirteen leading pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, pledged their support in producing drugs to counteract AMR by 2020 (WP; Reuters). They also committed to reducing the environmental impact of antibiotic production and improving access to current and future antibiotics, vaccines and diagnostics (WP).
Tags: Global Health, United Nations, Gandy, superbugs, food security