Uppsala hosts important meeting on antibiotic resistance

9 June 2014

The Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation and ReAct at Uppsala University are gathering some of the world’s leading experts from many sectors – industry, agriculture, health, civil society, governments and researchers – to discuss how to tackle antibiotic resistance and how to move a coordinated global agenda forward. The meeting takes place 10–12 June.

Antibiotics save lives every day all over the world. However, without a radical shift in the way antibiotics are marketed and used – and unless we overcome the gap in antibiotics discovery – antibiotic resistance will continue to become one of the greatest threats to humankind.

Antibiotic resistance strikes hardest on the poor. Securing access to effective antibiotics is a challenge, particularly for poorer populations with limited access to water and sanitation, medicines and health care. Most of the yearly 1.1 million under-five child deaths due to pneumonia are a result of poor access to effective antibiotics.

‘Antibiotic resistance emerges as a threat that goes across borders, as a responsibility that no single nation can address in isolation. In recognising this, the issue must be on the global political agenda. Antibiotics are a precious public good and an exhaustible resource’, says Annika Söder, Executive Director at the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation.

Despite the accelerating problem, global coordination has until now been extremely weak. At the 67th World Health Assembly held in Geneva last week the Member States requested the Director-General of the WHO to develop a draft global action plan to combat antimicrobial resistance, including antibiotic resistance. This will however demand strong political commitment and leadership and also new actors entering the arena forming partnerships and collaborations between academia, governments and the private sector.

‘Antibiotic resistance could no longer be considered a matter only for hospitals and the health sector. The consequences of antibiotic resistance is hitting hard on economy  environment and global development. We need more action by more actors’, says Otto Cars, director of ReAct and senior professor in infectious diseases at Uppsala University.

The meeting is arranged by ReAct at Uppsala University and the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation in collaboration with the Division of Global Health at Karolinska Insitutet.