Country: United Kingdom
Delegate Name: Taha Ibrahim
World Health Organization
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Taha Ibrahim, FH Northern HS
As modern medicine continues to evolve, bacteria evolve with it. The recent emergence of resistant bacteria known as “superbugs” has been a point of concern for many health officials. This issue stems from both the misuse and overuse of antibiotics. As medicine continues to be used, the bacteria the medicine was made for begins to grow immune to its effects. Because of this, an estimated 700,000 people die from resistant infections. The rise of COVID-19 has further sped up the rate at which bacteria and other microbes evolve new resistant strains.
The United Kingdom has been dealing with the ever-rapid spread of AMR (antimicrobial resistance) and is currently implementing measures to counteract its effects. A 5-year national plan supported by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the committee for Antimicrobial Prescribing, Resistance, and Healthcare-Associated Infections (APRHAI) has been implemented based on three key strategies: reducing unnecessary exposure to antimicrobials, optimizing their use, and investing in innovation, supply, and access. Along with that, The United Kingdom aims to reduce the number of infections from drug-resistant microbe by 10%, reduce the use of antimicrobials by 15%, reduce the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals by 25%, and be able to report on the percentage of prescriptions supported by tests.
The first step in dealing with the issue of resistant bacteria is figuring out the reasons why they’ve been building these resistances in the first place. As we know it, the issue comes from the overuse and overreliance on antibiotic medicines. In the UK, antibiotic use is at 15.9 Daily Defined Doses (DDD) per 1,000 inhabitants, down from the 2017 figures which were at 18.8 DDD. The key to reducing the number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is to lower the excessive use of antibiotics. Along with the excessive use of antibiotics, poor hygiene practices and increased infection rates directly correlates with the increased use of antibiotics, and as such, more resistant strains of bacteria form. One major cause that goes unnoticed comes from intensive farming practices. Reliance on antibiotics for animals also assists in the emergence of resistant bacteria. That resistance can easily be transmitted from animals to humans The best way to reduce the increased rate of antibiotic resistance happening is through the promotion of improved hygiene practices in medical centers.
The measures the United Kingdom has implemented listed above can be used in similar nations facing the issue of widespread antibiotic resistance. Similarly, improvements in medical care, promotion of efficient antibacterial use, and regulations on handling livestock are all factors that can help lower the number of resistant bacteria. The United Kingdom will continue to assist in the fight against antibiotic resistance across the globe.