WORLD health leaders have urged action to avoid what they call the “disastrous consequences” of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) caused by the misuse and overuse of antibiotics.

Heads of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and the World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday launched the new One Health Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance, comprising heads of state and government ministers as well as representatives from the private sector and civil society.

They will bid to focus global attention and action to preserve antimicrobial medicines, describing the rapid rise of AMR as one of the world’s most urgent threats to human, animal, plant and environmental health.

AMR also led to increased health care costs, hospital admissions, treatment failure, severe illness and death.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said its latest reporting shows the world is running out of effective treatments for several common infections.

“Antimicrobial resistance is one of the greatest health challenges of our time, and we cannot leave it for our children to solve.”

“Now is the time to forge new, cross-sector partnerships that will protect the medicines we have and revitalize the pipeline for new ones.”

Qu Dongyu, FAO director-general, added: “No single sector can solve this problem alone. Collective action is required to address the threat of antimicrobial resistance – across different economic sectors and country borders.”