Bio lab at MSF’s Aden hospital in Yemen. The hospital focuses on treating and controlling antibiotic-resistant infections. Photo credit: Ehab Zawati/MSF
Statement |

MSF statement and position paper on UNHLM for AMR

Report cover image
Photo credit: Ehab Zawati/MSF

MSF delivered the following statement, with accompanying position paper, on recommendations for the UN High-Level Meeting (UNHLM) on antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Statement for the Interactive Multi-Stakeholder Hearing as part of the preparatory process for the 2024 High-Level Meeting on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) 

Panel 2: Addressing antimicrobial access, research and development (R&D), and innovation 

Thank you, Mr. (President). 

I represent Médecins Sans Frontières, a medical humanitarian organisation and a leading actor in the treatment of AMR globally, with 47 AMR projects in 18 countries worldwide. 

Over the last decade we have treated many thousands of patients with drug-resistant bacterial infections, and have noted with alarm the increasing rates of resistance.  

We witness first-hand inequities in health care, resulting in gaps in prevention, diagnosis and treatment that are putting patient lives, and quite frankly, modern medicine, at risk.  

We can attest that basic, targeted interventions to strengthen healthcare facilities against AMR in low-resource settings work, and yet, the necessary international financing and mobilization to implement these measures are still lacking. 

We offer 4 recommendations today:  

First, focus on prevention. Alongside vaccination and WASH, in order to reduce transmission and the overall burden of infectious disease, we ask States to strengthen capacity for infection prevention and control by investing in infrastructure and healthcare worker training.   

Second, focus on diagnostic capacity. We know from experience the importance of microbiology labs for effective diagnosis and treatment of AMR patients, as well as for public health surveillance. We ask States to invest in laboratory infrastructure, training, and innovations for use in low-resource settings. 

Third, focus on access to appropriate treatment. Healthcare workers need support in antimicrobial stewardship and existing drugs and diagnostics must be universally accessible and affordable. Developing new drugs is also crucial, but we ask States to ensure that R&D is balanced with other investments that strengthen healthcare provision; targets the most urgent global public health needs; prioritizes non-profit initiatives; and comes with upfront conditions that ensure new products will be affordable and accessible to all. 

And finally, focus on community engagement. Initiatives to counter AMR must actively engage civil society and place those most affected by drug resistance at the heart of their structure and governance. This will ensure that the most pressing needs are prioritized and that the global response to AMR tackles the healthcare inequities fueling this crisis. 

Thank you, (Mr. President).