Health Secretary warns of the 'silent pandemic' of antimicrobial resistance


"If we fail to act on antimicrobial resistance, modern medicine as we know it can cease to exist."

This was the warning of Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, speaking at the United Nations high-level interactive dialogue on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) last month (April).

The Health Secretary recognised what he called "the power and ingenuity of science and modern medicine" in developing rapid solutions to treat COVID-19, even when so little was known about the disease. 

"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."

The World Health Organization (WHO) has already described AMR as one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity.

Matt Hancock called for governments around the world to recognise the threat of AMR and act now, pledging that the UK would do just that. 

He also insisted we need better practice around the use of antibiotics for people and animals and new antibiotics. We need to make sure the supply chain is safe and shared, with shared global standards and think about the One Health interactions between humans, animals and the environment.

The UK has presidency of the G7 this year and the Health Secretary stated his determination to bring partners together "and take bold new steps on AMR."

The Fleming Fund is already helping 24 countries to develop their surveillance and systems for infection and AMR. The Government recently announced an additional £1.3 million of UK investment to the tripartite multi-partner trust fund on AMR. "We’re looking forward to working with any partner who shares our desire for ever more creative ways of addressing the threat of AMR."

In particular, AMR needs to be at the heart of the conversations at the upcoming COP26 and UN Food Systems summits.

Have Your Say

There are currently no comments for this article

May 07, 2021 TWITTER
HEFMAUK 1390596862655320066 HEFMA 07:May:2021 09:18:22 This week's key messages from NHSE/I include an update on the new national standards for cleaning and waste management as well as information about a new online system and webinars to support the mandatory completion of NHS PAM - read more here
May 07, 2021 TWITTER
HEFMAUK 1390596199179227138 HEFMA 07:May:2021 09:15:44 RT @hcashells: The key to the success of a review is full involvement and support from our pivotal associations, join us to be part of the…
May 05, 2021 TWITTER
HEFMAUK 1389869221039988743 HEFMA 05:May:2021 09:06:59 One week to go to our webinar 'Developing the Healthcare EFM Workforce - A Partnership Approach' to launch HEFMA and IHEEM's joint workforce strategy #EFMworkforce @IHEEM @EstatesNhs - more info and registration links here