WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan outlines antimicrobial challenges

World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan gave the opening remarks on Wednesday at the Ministerial Conference on Antimicrobial Research at The Hague, Netherlands.

Chan focused on the challenges facing efforts to combat a rising trend of antimicrobial resistance worldwide.

"A typical pattern has emerged," Chan said. "A report is issued. The media respond with sensational coverage. Politicians give speeches and offer quotes that further underscore the high level of alarm. But then nothing much happens worldwide. Dangerous practices continue. The consequences spread. And the problem gets worse."

The World Health Assembly adopted a resolution in May asking the WHO to develop a draft plan to combat antimicrobial resistance around the world. The Ministerial Conference was intended to provide expert guidance to those drafting the plan.

Chan also said that rising incomes and the increased consumption of meat worldwide increase the chances of the misuse of antimicrobials, which could eventually provide incentives to take action.

"Some analysts have compared the threat of antimicrobial resistance with the threat from climate change," Chain said. "Both are already here. Both are caused by human activities. And both are global threats that demand global solutions, including solutions to problems that are caused by entrenched industry practices."