Essential medicines and health products

Antimicrobial resistance

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a serious public health problem. Many of the microbes (bacteria, viruses, protozoa) that cause infectious disease no longer respond to common antimicrobials (antibiotics, antiviral and antiprotozoal drugs). Antimicrobials generally have a widespread availability, are low cost, and relatively safe. However, their use and misuse has led to expansion of resistant microbes leading to a loss of efficacy.

Antimicrobial use

The WHO Department of Essential Medicines and Health Products provides guidance on strategies to improve use of medicines by patients, healthcare professionals, and national authorities. The aim of improved use is to ensure that infected patients who need antimicrobial therapy have access to quality medicines which conform with national policy and standard treatment guidelines.

Draft global action plan on antimicrobial resistance

The World Health Organization was requested at the Sixty-seventh World Health Assembly in May 2014, to develop a draft global action plan to combat antimicrobial resistance. The goal of the draft action plan is to ensure, continuity of successful treatment and prevention of infectious diseases with effective and safe medicines that are quality-assured, used in a responsible way, and accessible to all who need them. The draft plan will be submitted to the Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly in May 2015.

WHO member state meeting on antimicrobial resistance
13-14 November 2014, Norway

Representatives from more than 26 countries and a number of NGO’s and representatives from civil society met as part of a consultation process for the finalisation and endorsement WHO’s global plan of action on antimicrobial resistance. The meeting resulted in an outcome document with 18 recommendations to be taken into account when revising the draft of the WHO Global Action Plan, which will be presented to the World Health Assembly in May 2015.