Delegate Name: Isabella Feenstra
World Health Organization
The Republic of Guatemala
Forest Hills Eastern
Antibiotics are medicines that effectively eliminate bacterial infections in living organisms and provide an environment in which the bacteria find it difficult to proliferate. During which healthy cells remain unharmed. Antibiotic resistance is produced when excessive use of antibiotics for benign diseases and viruses occurs. The discovery of antibiotics in 1928 led to their mass production in the following years. When illnesses that do not require antibiotics are treated with them, the strains can become resistant and adapt to become more critical. The threats these strains pose are urgent to health and the world’s economic state. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 1.27 million people died in 2019 alone due to antibiotic resistance. To combat the impacts of this issue, 52 countries have enrolled in the World Health Organization’s Global Antimicrobial Surveillance System (GLASS). By documenting outbreaks, GLASS provides a basis for informed policies, prevents future infections, and organizes controlled responses.
As a developing country with a complicated healthcare system, The Republic of Guatemala acknowledges the importance of antimicrobial resistance monitoring for the well-being of its citizens. The healthcare system of Guatemala consists of 3 sectors: public healthcare, private healthcare institutions, and the nonprofit sector. Guatemala has modest government spending on healthcare. Guatemala spends approximately $271 per capita compared to a developed country, while a developed country spends $11,582 per capita. With the poor funding of the healthcare system, our medical institutions face understaffing and inadequate resources. Antibiotic resistance poses an urgent risk to Guatemala’s vulnerable healthcare systems. It will create severe strands of diseases that are difficult to treat; due to antibiotics becoming ineffective with overuse. Although the government implemented regulations for prescription antibiotic drug sales in 2019, easy access to those drugs has not been halted. Corner stores that initially sold prescription drugs illegally were excluded from the mandate that forced all legal institutions to only retail antibiotics with a prescription. Therefore, due to poverty or accessibility of corner stores, many Guatemalans purchase antibiotics missing the expiration dates, lot numbers, manufacturer information, and restrictions on dosage. With the self-medication routine, Guatemalans may under-medicate, mistreat bacterial and viral strands, or ingest unsanitary medications purchased from their local corner store.
Current relief efforts provided by The Pan American Health Organization and CDC regarding the prevention of disease outbreaks and response to public health threats in Guatemala are appreciated. However, countless Guatemalans purchase antibiotics from corner stores without a doctor’s consult. In light of this, Guatemala expresses interest in expanding the public’s scope of
antibiotic resistance awareness by providing a campaign informing the general public of the effects of antibiotic overuse.
The Republic of Guatemala encourages all member nations to develop a healthcare system that is accessible and affordable.