Five leading environmental and public health organisations have joined the Antibiotic Resistance Coalition (of which HCWH Europe is an existing member). The Antibiotic Resistance Coalition (ARC), is an independent coalition of members from six continents working in health, agriculture, consumer, and development sectors. ARC advocates for policy change and action to prevent the post-antibiotic era from becoming a bleak reality.
One new member is MedAct, a UK-based organisation and HCWH Europe member, working to mobilise and organise health professionals to be “more effective social agents for social change”. They achieve this through strategic research analysis, education, and campaigns across a number of issues, including antimicrobial resistance. During World Antibiotic Awareness Week, MedAct partnered with the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics, (an ARC member) to mobilise 12 medical UK professional societies to call on the government to set regulations curbing overuse and misuse of antibiotics in food animal production.
Other new members of the Coalition, further expanding the strategic drive on AMR, are:
- Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network, a Kenyan-based, non-profit, independent network of almost 100 members across 30 countries worldwide. Members include Christian health associations, faith-based medicine supply organisations, church health institutions, and other stakeholders committed to providing quality pharmaceutical services and achieving global goals and targets for health and access to medicines.
- Natural Resources Defense Council, a leading environmental agency in the United States that works across a number of issues including antimicrobial resistance, particularly in food animal production. The organisation has worked alongside many ARC members calling on food retailers to change their practices and source meat products raised without the routine use of antibiotics.
- American Medical Student Association, the oldest, largest, and independent association of physicians-in-training in the United States. Throughout its history, the organisation has harnessed the voice of the next generation to drive public health change from areas including pharmaceutical conflict of interest to mobilising medical student associations worldwide to advocate against harmful free trade agreements that would restrict access to medicines.
- U.S. Public Interest Research Group (US PIRG), a consumer advocacy organisation with a strong network of over 400 researchers, advocates, organisers, and students across 47 states addressing issues from product safety to public health to consumer protection. A key priority for US PIRG is their campaign: “Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics”, calling on major restaurants to stop sourcing food animals raised with the routine use of antibiotics. They’ve currently collected over 100,000 petition signatures from citizens, and built a coalition of over 20,000 concerned health professionals.
“The skyrocketing rates of resistant infections are a major cause for concern worldwide. AMR is borderless and will require cooperation at all levels if we are to fight it effectively. We welcome these five organisations whose diverse expertise will certainly help us step up the fight against this global threat to public health and the environment.”
Dr Adela Maghear - Pharmaceuticals Policy Officer, HCWH Europe
About the Antibiotic Resistance Coalition
Since its formation in 2014, ahead of the 67th World Health Assembly when the initial resolution to draft the global action plan on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) was adopted, the ARC has amplified the voice of civil society across countries and sectors at various policy fora. Through coordinated efforts, the Coalition engages intergovernmental organisations and national governments on the development and implementation of the global action plan on AMR. The ARC has briefed United Nations agencies, country missions, and other stakeholders in advance of the High-level Meeting on AMR; and called on stakeholders including food retailers and health facilities to change their sourcing practices towards curbing drug resistance.
This week, at the World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Board Meeting, ARC members delivered an intervention calling on the agency to “demonstrate strength in leadership”, ensuring that their efforts both globally and nationally are aligned with public health interests and inclusive of all stakeholders, including civil society.
The Declaration on Antibiotic Resistance
Founding ARC members drafted the Declaration on Antibiotic Resistance, outlining a series of principles and actions necessary to “urgently avert the looming post-antibiotic catastrophe”. The Declaration addresses three key thematic areas including:
- Curbing excessive use whilst ensuring access for people in need
- Tackling excessive non-human use in food and agriculture
- Developing an effective innovation system for new antibiotics, diagnostics, and other tools that support health, access and rational use.
The Declaration also includes the coalition’s recommendations for international action and cooperation by governments and international organisations; including the WHO, FAO, and OIE to effectively address and monitor progress towards curbing drug resistance across sectors. All members of the Coalition are signatories to the Declaration on Antibiotic Resistance, committing themselves to the principles and actions.
The ARC has called for international action and leadership to promote new, needs-driven and open R&D models based on the principles of de-linkage (divorcing R&D costs from both price and sales volume), phase out the non-therapeutic use of antimicrobials in food animal production, and drive investment towards innovation of novel technologies as well as of novel stewardship practices that transform healthcare delivery and enable sustainable agricultural systems.
Annually, the Coalition has convened a WHO-NGO Dialogue where members directly address the WHO AMR Secretariat on specific issues, as well as the commitments outlined in the UN Political Declaration on AMR. ARC members have also provided extensive comments to the draft global action plan as well as joint interventions at WHO meetings, offering concrete recommendations to both intergovernmental agencies and governments on addressing AMR. The Coalition has also played a key role in raising antimicrobial resistance as a critical issue at the UN General Assembly. In June 2016, ARC members participated in a briefing hosted by ReAct-Action on Antibiotic Resistance, the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation, and the Every Woman Every Child initiative within the UN Secretary-General’s office on “Meeting the Multisectoral Challenge of AMR”.
Each month, a newsletter describing ARC member efforts in addressing AMR is released - to learn more, sign up here.
preview image: Lady of Procrastination via Flickr cc