Hancock: Modern Medicine May Cease to Exist Without Global AMR Action
Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, will today call for urgent global action in the fight against AMR as it threatens the modern way of life.
Speaking virtually at the United Nations High-level Interactive Dialogue on AMR, the Health Secretary will lay bare the danger we face without a global approach to tackling this threat.
Calling for nations to sign up to the UN Call to Action – which aims to raise the importance of AMR on the political agenda and to sustain and strengthen efforts to address AMR at the national, regional and global levels – the Health Secretary is expected to say:
“We owe so much of our progress against this deadly disease to the power and ingenuity of science and modern medicine.
“But if we fail to act on antimicrobial resistance, modern medicine as we know it can cease to exist.
“And the silent pandemic of AMR could have consequences far more deadly than Covid.
“In my view, it’s an existential threat as great as climate change.”
Drug-resistant diseases already cause at least 700,000 deaths globally each year and in a worst-case scenario, could increase to 10 million deaths globally per year by 2050 without government and industry intervention.
The UK spearheaded the first UN high level political declaration and subsequent resolution on AMR in 2016, and today’s Call to Action is a rallying cry for world leaders to maintain and strengthen momentum as part of building back better from COVID-19.
The Health Secretary will announce £1.3million of recent additional UK funding, on top of existing commitments, to the Multi-Partner Trust Fund on AMR (MPTF). The MPTF helps provide additional support to low- and middle-income country efforts to address AMR through a coordinated approach.
The UK is determined to use its Presidency of the G7 this year to bring partners together and take bold new steps on AMR. This is in addition to supporting initiatives such as the Fleming Fund, a £265 million UK aid investment, which is currently helping twenty-four countries develop their surveillance and systems for infection and AMR.
The Secretary of State is expected to go on to say:
“On behalf of the government of the United Kingdom, I welcome and fully endorse today’s call to action on AMR, because we have so much still to do together – learning from the lessons of this pandemic and learning those lessons quickly.
“Working across human, animal and environmental health to make sure that we tackle the next pandemic, so generations ahead of us will have the modern medicine that we are able to benefit from today.”
In response to this wide-ranging and pervasive threat, the UK government published a 20-year vision to ‘contain and control’ AMR by 2040, together with a 5-year national action plan in January 2019. This will help to protect the British people from what is a regional, national and international threat.