According to the WHO, AMR is a fast growing problem and one of the top 10 Global Health threats. By 2050, it could cause 10 million deaths per year! AMR can affect anyone: people of all ages, locations, or socioeconomic status. In our interconnected world, resistant germs can spread rapidly across borders and continents. The World Bank predicts AMR could reduce global GDP by 3.8% by 2050, with the greatest impact on LMICs.

When antibiotics no longer work, infections become much more difficult to treat and can lead to serious illness or death. The need for more expensive treatments for drug-resistant infections puts a strain on healthcare budgets.

AMR particularly impacts the treatment of infectious diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV, which are more prevalent in LMICs. But other common infections such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and gonorrhea are becoming harder to treat with higher death rates.

Many factors contribute to AMR, including the misuse or overuse of antibiotics, the lack of new antibiotics being developed, but also the spread of AMR between humans, animals, and the environment. As such, AMR is definitely a priority deserving of a “One Health” approach.

According to a study published in The Lancet in 2022, AMR was estimated to have directly caused 1.27 million deaths in 2019, of which 500,000 occurred in LMICs. In most LMICs, weak healthcare systems also have to cope with antibiotics available over-the-counter fueling AMR or, worse, with widespread counterfeit or substandard medications.

AntiMicrobial Resistance (AMR)

Burden and Challenges

AMR Consultancies

Surveys and Interventions

Having a clear picture of the burden and topography of AMR is essential to control its spread and damage. Some epidemiology consultancies can help provide much-needed surveillance data. This data can be used to identify areas where AMR is a problem and to target interventions:

• Prevalence of AMR: proportion of people in a population who have AMR.

• Incidence of AMR: number of new cases of AMR that occur in a given population over a period of time.

• Severity of AMR: severity of the infections caused by AMR.

• Mortality rate from AMR: number of deaths caused by AMR.

• Cost of AMR: cost of treating AMR, including the cost of healthcare and lost productivity.

Culture-based methods to confirm AMR can be used in collaboration with a laboratory to obtain the patterns of AMR in a location or population. Culture-based methods are the most accurate way to detect AMR. Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) are a type of test that can be used to detect AMR quickly and easily but are they not as accurate as culture-based or molecular methods. However, RDTs are a good option for resources-limited settings.

Once the results are available, recommendations for targeted interventions can be provided: improving infection prevention and control (IPC), rational use of antimicrobials, and/or strengthening surveillance and monitoring. Surveillance and monitoring are essential for tracking the spread of AMR and for evaluating the effectiveness of interventions. The WHO is indeed calling for improved surveillance and monitoring systems to help control AMR.

Get in touch