World Health Day is celebrated on 7 April to mark the founding of WHO. Each year, the Organization selects a key health issue, and encourages people from all ages and all backgrounds to hold events that highlight the signiﬁcance of this issue for good health and well-being. World Health Day provides a unique opportunity for communities from across the world to come together for one day to promote actions that can improve our health.
Most of us live longer and healthier lives today, partly
because powerful and effective medicines – known as antimicrobials – are available to treat infectious diseases. Until the discovery and availability of antimicrobials in the 1940s, people died needlessly from infectious diseases. Today, none of us can imagine living in a world without antimicrobials.
What is antimicrobial resistance?
Antimicrobial resistance – also known as drug resistance – occurs when microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change in ways that render the medications used to cure the infections they cause ineffective. When the microorganisms become resistant to most antimicrobials they are often referred to as “superbugs”. This is a major concern because a resistant infection may kill, can spread to others, and imposes huge costs to individuals and society.
We are now on the brink of losing this precious arsenal
of medicines. The use and misuse of antimicrobials in human medicine and animal husbandry over the past 70 years have increased the number and types of microorganisms resistant to these medicines, causing deaths, greater suffering and disability, and higher health-care costs.
What are antimicrobial agents?
Antimicrobial agents are medicines used to treat infections caused by microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses. The discovery of antimicrobials is one of the most important advances in health in human history – alleviating suffering from disease and saving...