Uppsala Health Summit: antibiotic resistance on the agenda in Uppsala, Sweden and worldwide

31 May 2015

On 2 and 3 June, experts, decision-makers and opinion formers from all over the world are convening at Uppsala Health Summit (in Uppsala) to discuss concrete issues concerning one of the modern world’s most daunting challenges to health: antibiotic resistance. At the meeting, an open lecture will be given on the subject by Dr Manica Balasegaram of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

Uppsala Health Summit is a forum where experts, along with decision-makers and opinion formers, get a chance to meet in an open dialogue on how innovations and research results can be used to improve global health and healthcare. The theme for Uppsala Health Summit 2015 is antibiotic resistance.

At Uppsala on 2–3 June, researchers and representatives of international health organisations from all over the world who have been invited to the Summit will get together. Much of their time will be allocated to dialogue in small groups on selected key issues. Examples are new economic models for developing and distributing new antibiotics; rational use of these drugs; their availability in low- and middle-income countries; diagnostics; using antibiotics in animals; and resistance in the environment.

‘Uppsala has the internationally leading expertise that is required for the relevant questions to be asked. The aim is to move the issue a step forward, in dialogue with stakeholders that have the authority and capacity to act,’ says Anders Malmberg, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Uppsala University and chairman of the steering group for Uppsala Health Summit.

The springboard for the conference is the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Global Action Plan on Antibiotic Resistance, adopted at a summit recently. This plan is a major step towards taking key measures in international cooperation, but a series of challenges remain to be solved on the way.

‘Uppsala Health Summit will carry on where the WHO summit ended. The Action Plan identified what has to be done and we’ll discuss how to make it a reality, what obstacles have to be overcome, and who is responsible,’ says Thomas Tängdén, a junior researcher at Uppsala University and chair of the Uppsala Health Summit programme committee.

The aim is to achieve, at the Summit, a shift in the discussion from ‘what’ to ‘how’ and ‘who’.
‘We want to pick out the obstacles and be practical. That’s possible only if we have an open, creative dialogue. There are difficult issues to solve on the way,’ says Tängdén.

Some of the specific questions to be raised during Uppsala Health Summit on 2–3 June are:
    •    How can we speed up development of new antibiotics?
    •    How can new business models — ones that provide incentives to develop drugs when their unrestricted     sale is prohibited — be made to work?
    •    How can distribution of effective antibiotics in low- and medium-income countries, where they are     currently lacking, be secured?
    •    How is the world to succeed in preventing overuse of the existing antibiotics that work and the new     ones that are being developed?
    •    What are the obstacles to stopping release into the natural environment of antibiotics and     resistant bacteria that accelerate the development of resistance there?
    •    How can we rapidly devise simple, low-cost tests that immediately tell us what is causing infection     and what treatment will work?
    •    How much does it cost to ban preventive use of antibiotics in animal husbandry?
    •    Is it at all feasible to bring about global coordination?
    •    Who is responsible for what and who should pay?

During Uppsala Health Summit, an open lecture on the challenges of antibiotic resistance  will be given by Dr Manica Balasegaram of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

More about Uppsala Health Summit.