Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland, September 7-8, 2022.
The World Anti-Microbial Resistance Congress, established in 2015, is a global conference for all stakeholders in the AMR space to meet, brainstorm ideas, and formulate initiatives that can effectively tackle antimicrobial resistance.
There is an urgent global health crisis that doesn’t seem to merit headlines in the news. The human death toll from antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is high given the dearth of treatments, particularly after the COVID pandemic. AMR is complex and no one treatment exists. Data has shown infectious diseases from AMR are more prevalent and urgent than malaria and HIV. Over one million people die from AMR, and these statistics should generate the attention of scientists, policymakers, and the public, but do not. Physicians too are not aware of the magnitude of the problem and combined with this, there is a paucity of infectious disease experts, the cumulative effects of which trickles down to a marked lack of care at the community level.
A transformation is needed that will make this crisis feel real and highlight that while AMR poses an acute crisis, it is preventable. Thus, a theory of change campaign is underway. In the last 5 years, a consensus has been developed to focus on AMR worldwide that didn’t exist before. Countries, organizations, and foundations have been given funds to combat this problem.
Discussion at the AMR congress focused on disease prevention, awareness, and health equality in AMR. We have learned a lot in the way COVID was handled from the communication, research, and clinical care aspects. There is a need to accelerate what AMR is beyond patient stories to highlight the research that is being done and therapies in the making. There is more passion now to transform this crisis, especially since the establishment of The Pioneering Antimicrobial Subscriptions to End Upsurging Resistance (PASTEUR) Act establishes a delinked subscription program to encourage innovative antimicrobial drug development targeting the most threatening infections, improve the appropriate use of antibiotics, and ensure domestic availability when needed. It has accentuated the need for respect of antibiotics in society.
In a large survey sponsored by the Sepsis Alliance, nearly 50% of adults were unaware of what AMR is. Awareness of the term ‘sepsis’ has reached a new all-time high of 71%. However, only one-third of adults are aware that viral sepsis is a potential complication of COVID, 40% of American adults do not know that sepsis is a complication of an infection, and 58% are not aware of post-sepsis syndrome, highlighting the need for further targeted sepsis education.
This conference set the stage for collaboration between countries, government organizations, industry, and advocacy groups to highlight the importance of health literacy, communication, and research in a One Health approach, a collaborative and transdisciplinary approach to achieving optimal health outcomes that recognizes the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment, before the next pandemic occurs.
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