Who knows anything about anti-microbial resistance? Antibiotics? Bacteria? Most don’t bother learning more than what you’d find in an average biology textbook. The word antibiotics brings to mind the medicine you have when you get the flu, penicillin, and if you have a really good memory, Alexander Fleming, the man who discovered the drugs. But I’ll tell you who does know a lot about them, who has to know it because it’s part of the job description – WHO knows.
The WHO is the World Health Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations organization. The WHO knows that antibiotics are chemicals produced by certain special microorganisms. They have the ability to kill or inhibit the growth of other microorganisms. Anti-microbial resistance is the acquired resistance of a microorganism to an anti-microbial medicine which was previously used to treat it. This resistance is a threat to the treatment and prevention of a range of bacterial, parasitical, and viral infections that grows wider each year. Because of this, healthcare and research costs are increasing, surgeries like C-sections are becoming increasingly harder to perform, and more people are suffering, as microbes get sensitized, from diseases that used to be easier to cure. That’s why the WHO believes there is a need for immediate action, and all countries need to contribute.
That’s also why the WHO is currently discussing draft resolutions. The committee was, this evening, engaged in a question-answer session with the writers of Draft Resolution 1.3, with a panel of the six most important contributors answering questions about their paper. The purpose of this is the ironing out of kinks in the resolution. The delegates of Mozambique, Germany, Nicaragua, Senegal, the Ivory Coast, and Bahrain were in the process of explaining how and why their resolution would be effective, if passed.
However, the entire committee wasn’t completely sure that this was the best option. The questions that arose brought to light many of the concerns delegates had with regard to certain clauses of the question paper. The delegate of the USA had doubts about funding, and said that investment in anti-microbial research was at an all-time low. Where did they plan to produce investors from? The delegate of France wanted more specifics about the global fund the resolution proposed for all nations. It was supposed to be accessible to all nations in times of crisis, but France wasn’t so sure that it would be that simple. How did the six author countries know exactly what the needs of the other countries were, and what would prevent a country from siphoning money from the fund for its own purposes, even when there was no emergency?
Despite the concerns the committee had, the writers managed to answer. According to them, innovation funds would be set up all over the world by the Global Innovation Fund. This would focus on funding and recognizing scientists in antibiotic research who are normally simply published in scientific journals. They would also work with organizations to help scientists in developing countries. In response to questions about the creation of a global health fund, they proposed the establishment of global platforms for constant communication and discussion between the countries of the world. Hospitals, doctors, and science and health experts would also submit reports on the condition of the country in question before it could receive any funds, so that the country’s crisis could be confirmed as a real one.
But this was the discussion surrounding a draft resolution and not a true solution to the problem. All countries need to reach a consensus so that something can be done about anti-microbial resistance, which will, if carried out effectively, help what could grow to be millions of people all over the world.