The Peril Of Antimicrobial Resistance A Global Public Health Emergency

By : ML Mazaba

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” Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi. AMR is an increasingly serious threat to global public health that requires action across all government sectors and society” according to the World Health Organisation report on February 15, 2018 [1].

Antibiotics historically were the greatest discovery in modern medicine providing a wide range of medical solutions to various infections caused by microbial organisms. However, over the recent years, resistance among infection causing organisms to the different antimicrobials used to treat them has been on the rise. This worrisome rise to dangerously high levels is as a result of overuse and misuse of antimicrobials in human and animal health; although most data available focuses on antibiotic resistance [1, 2].

Five years ago, Chajer and Ali stated that  “Since antibiotics were first introduced into clinical practice some 80 years ago, microbes have been evolving ways to resist these drugs, but in recent years this problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been rapidly getting worse” [3].

Recognising the problem of AMR, more-so antibiotic resistance (ABR), its cause and the best approaches in mitigating it, members states at the Sixty-Eighth World Health Assembly held in 2016, endorsed the Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance. They called for a dedicated global campaign to raise public awareness and understanding of antibiotic resistance [4]. Annually in November, many governments, health facilities, schools and communities across the globe celebrate an awareness campaign dubbed World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW), through which best practices to stall further emergence and spread of ABR are highlighted among the general public, health workers and policy makers [1].

The Health Press Zambia (THP-Z) aligning to the 2019 World Antibiotic Awareness Week theme of “The future of antibiotics depends on us all” supported awareness campaign activities in Zambia including the media awards, the debates among secondary and tertiary institutions, an awareness walk and various media engagement. THP-Z encourages all governments, public and private institutions and individuals to take responsibility and be a part of the drive to mitigate antimicrobial resistance.

THP-Z also invites you to read beyond this editorial published in this issue; a policy brief on Hypertension: Reduce salt intake, Save a heart! Reduced Morbidity and Mortality Due to Hypertension, AWARENESS AND KNOWLEDGE OF GLAUCOMA AMONG EYE PATIENTS ATTENDING THE UNIVERSITY TEACHING HOSPITALS EYE HOSPITAL and the November Influenza and IDSR reports. Enjoy!


  1. WHO. Antimicrobial resistance. 2018
  2. Prestinaci F, Pezzotti P, Pantosti A. Antimicrobial resistance: a global multifaceted phenomenon. Pathog Glob Health. 2015;109(7):309–318.
  3. Chhajer R, Ali N. Genetically modified organisms and visceral leishmaniasis. Front Immunol 2014;5:213.
  4. WHO. Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance.