Delegate Name: Nikhil Talla
World Health Organization
The Kingdom of Spain
Forest Hills Eastern
Antibiotics are given to patients to kill certain harmful bacteria without damaging other cells. This form of medicine has helped treat infections in humans, pets, and livestock; however, the overuse of antibiotics creates an environment for bacteria to adapt and become resistant to antibiotics. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), antimicrobial-resistant infections occur over 2.8 million times a year, and more than 35,000 people die from these infections. The European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Network, the largest publicly funded system for antibiotic resistance surveillance, compiled data showing that Spain has among the highest rates of ciprofloxacin-resistant Escherichia coli in Europe.
Microbial resistance to antibiotics is a growing problem in the Kingdom of Spain. Community-acquired infections have become a leading concern among the general public because Spain has a high rate of antibiotic resistance. Spanish health authorities and scientific societies are being urged to solve this problem by encouraging and supporting specific programs to control the emergence of microbial resistance to antibiotics. In addition, the possibility that Spain may serve as a source of resistant strains for other areas of the world underscores the responsibility of the Spanish public health authorities to implement effective control measures. Spain has average rates of resistance for nosocomial bacterial isolates (infections developed 48 hours after being admitted to the hospital) observed throughout Europe; however, for community-acquired bacterial isolates, resistance rates are among the highest in the European Union. According to Fernando Baquero and the Task Force of the General Direction for Health Planning of the Spanish Ministry of Health, in 1976, the total number of antibiotic units (boxes) supplied through drugstores was nearly 110 million, equivalent to 31 defined daily doses (DDD) per 1,000 persons per day. In hospitals, physicians may not have the time to make an appropriate differential diagnosis or explain the risks of unjustified antibiotic therapy to patients. As a result, patients adopt a defensive attitude toward prescribing these drugs. Of all the illegally dispensed drugs from Spain (without the required prescription form), 35 percent are antibiotics. Any new antibiotic developed provides a short-term solution to address the problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria spreading. In Spain, the Ministry of Health approves new drugs and provides surveillance for undesirable effects.
Spain will continue its efforts to slow the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria by promoting education on the use of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance. Improving the effectiveness and distribution of bacterial vaccines will decrease the number of antibiotics required by humans and animals. Countries should include labels on packaged antibiotics warning about their use and implement surveillance programs to promote the rational prescription of antibiotics. Spain is open to solutions addressing the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and wants countries to work together to find these solutions.