World Health Assembly closes: resolution on antimicrobial resistance approved

The Sixty-seventh World Health Assembly closed on Saturday 24 May 2014, after adopting more than 20 resolutions on public health issues of global importance.

Resolution on antimicrobial resistance

Delegates expressed their growing concern about antimicrobial resistance and urged governments to strengthen national action and international collaboration. This will require sharing of information on the extent of resistance and the use of antibiotics in humans and animals. It will also involve improving awareness among health providers and the public of the threat posed by resistance, the need for responsible use of antibiotics and the importance of good hand hygiene and other measures to prevent infection.

The resolution urges Member States to strengthen drug management systems, to support research to extend the lifespan of existing drugs and to encourage the development of new diagnostics and treatment options.

As requested in the resolution, WHO will develop a draft global action plan to combat resistance to antimicrobial agents, including antibiotics, for presentation to the next World Health Assembly for approval.

Highlights for the European Region

  • The delegate of Turkey made an intervention in Committee B (Financial and management issues) during the discussion on substandard/spurious/falsely labelled/ falsified/counterfeit medical products, emphasizing the importance of this public health issue. He said that his country had established a mechanism to track and trace medical products.
  • In discussions on intensifying the global initiative to eradicate polio, Monaco made an intervention on behalf of the European Union (EU). The EU fully supports the Director-General’s decision (on 5 May 2014) to declare the current international spread of polio a public health emergency of international concern and her recommendations. In addition to high-quality surveillance of acute flaccid paralysis, the EU suggested setting up evidence-based standards for environmental surveillance of polio, following recent experience in Israel, where poliovirus was isolated in sewage as a result of surveillance. Monaco also noted the strong link between conflict, insecurity and the spread of poliovirus and called for the necessary measures to be put in place to ensure the widest vaccination coverage under secure conditions for the population and health workers.