Antimicrobial resistance

High-level Meeting “Universal Health Coverage as a Tool to Combat Infectious Diseases” - 30-31 May 2018, Tokyo, Japan

High-level Meeting “Universal Health Coverage as a Tool to Combat Infectious Diseases” - 30-31 May 2018, Tokyo, Japan

The emergence of AMR presents a threat to UHC as it can lead to increased demand for health services. On the other hand, a strong health system can mitigate the risk of AMR. For instance, where regulation is weak and antibiotics can be obtained without a prescription, people may overuse antibiotics leading to an acceleration in the development of resistance. UHC helps to ensure access to quality, secure and effective antibiotics to treat infections. UHC also helps to tackle the problem from many angles – ensuring financial protection against the high cost of treating drug-resistant infections, strengthening supply systems, and monitoring consumption and use of medications.

For the reason above then ASEF* Public Health Network and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Japan are co-hosting a multi-country, High-level Meeting focusing on UHC in relation to effective management of infectious diseases including possible future pandemic as well as AMR. Participant of this meeting includes colleagues from MOH Bangladesh, civil society from India and WHO SEARO staff member.

The overall aim of this High-level Meeting is to facilitate agreement between governments and other stakeholders on practical actions to ensure access to effective treatment of infectious diseases while reducing the risk of the emergence of AMR.

The specific objectives are:

  • To bring together officials with responsibilities for AMR and UHC and other stakeholders to explore the challenges they face in both ensuring access to antibiotic treatment, when needed, and reducing the risk of AMR;
  • To identify practical strategies for integrating a concern for AMR into strategies for making progress towards UHC and for taking UHC strategies into account in NAPs for addressing AMR;
  • To agree on priorities for international cooperation between Asia and Europe to support an equitable and sustainable approach for addressing the challenge of infectious diseases.

The discussion during in the meeting includes:

  • UHC & AMR: Potential & Pitfalls of Harmonising the two Initiatives
  • Identifying Priorities for Integrating AMR in UHC
  • Emerging Consensus on Approaches for Integrating AMR into Making Progress towards UHC
  • Role of Private Sector in AMR under UHC

In this regard, Bloom et al article in BMJ Global Health 2017 (1) stated that:

  • An effective strategy for addressing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) needs to both ensure access to effective therapy for common infections and reduce the risk of emergence of resistance.
  • A systems framework for UHC is necessary to work across the continuum from prevention to care and to address the many factors that lead to AMR.
  • It is important to understand the linkage between the two priorities and ensure that the use of antimicrobials is both just and sustainable.
  • Action is needed at national and global levels to ensure there is an integrated approach for making progress towards UHC and for addressing AMR.

The opportunity of close collaboration between UHC and AMR program in regional and country level will give beneficial impact to health status of the people.

(1) Bloom G, Merrett GB, Wilkinson A, et al. Antimicrobial resistance and universal health coverage. BMJ Glob Health 2017;2:e000518. doi:10.1136/ bmjgh-2017-000518

*The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF)1, founded in 1997, is an intergovernmental not-for-profit organisation representing 30 European and 21 Asian countries (three are from our SEA region, Bangladesh, India and Indonesia), plus the European Union and the ASEAN Secretariat.