Statement |

MSF Statement at the 72nd WHA: Follow-up to UN High-Level Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance (Agenda Item 11.8)

Photograph by UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

72nd WHO World Health Assembly – May 2019
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) statement on agenda item 11.8:
Follow-up to the high-level meetings of the United Nations General Assembly on health-related issues: Antimicrobial resistance, Document A72/18

Speaker: Dušan Jasovský

In our projects around the world, MSF faces serious challenges preventing, diagnosing and treating drug-resistant infections.

To ensure good antimicrobial stewardship, optimally treat patients and limit resistance, more must be done to strengthen IPC programmes, ensure available, timely and accurate diagnosis, and guarantee affordable access to existing antibiotics – all of which must be underpinned by investment in skilled human resources and education. We welcome WHO’s support for developing National Action Plans, but support is now needed for implementation.

Interruptions in the supply of antibiotics pose a significant challenge globally, including for MSF. We welcome the IACG’s call for governments or regional entities to establish production facilities or contract manufacturers to ensure sustainable production and supply of antimicrobials.

R&D must be driven by patient needs, target the specific pathogens people face in developing countries, be adapted for use in resource-limited settings, and be accessible and affordable for all people in need. A paradigm shift is needed in the way we finance, regulate and develop antibiotics. We must focus on quality over quantity and embrace ideas such as public-purpose ownership to develop what the public needs.

We welcome the diagnostics landscape analysis being conducted by WHO. Further work is needed to evaluate diagnostics’ clinical value and  provide countries with guidance on which tests to prioritise as well as implementation support.

The Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System should be strengthened by allowing non-state actors to supply data directly from countries that are struggling to collect and report. Efforts to monitor consumption and use of antibiotics are also critical.

The resolution should address conflicts of interest and call for stronger pharmaceutical industry regulation. Of the 100 companies in one AMR coalition, 96 still link sales bonuses to increased sales of antibiotics.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) statement on agenda item 11.8: Follow-up to the high-level meetings of the United Nations General Assembly on health-related issues: Antimicrobial resistance, Document A72/18