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Sr. Executive / Executive, Production; THE IBN SINA PHARMACEUTICAL IND LTD

 World Health Day - April 07, 2011
Update: 2011-04-06

World Health Day is celebrated every year on 7 April, under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization (WHO).

In 1948, the World Health Organization held the First World Health Assembly. The Assembly decided to celebrate 7 April of each year, with effect from 1950, as the World Health Day. The World Health Day is held to mark WHO's founding, and is seen as an opportunity by the organization to draw worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health each year. The WHO organizes international, regional and local events on the Day related to a particular theme. Resources provided continue beyond 7 April, that is, the designated day for celebrating the World Health Day.

The theme of the current World Health Day, marked on 7 April 2011, is "Antimicrobial resistance and its global spread" and focuses on the need for governments and stakeholders to implement the policies and practices needed to prevent and counter the emergence of highly resistant microorganisms.

When infections caused by resistant microorganisms fail to respond to standard treatments, including antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines - also known as drug resistance - this may result in prolonged illness and greater risk of death. For World Health Day 2011, WHO is calling for intensified global commitment to safeguard antimicrobial medicines for future generations.
Measures to combat drug resistance
Today, WHO is publishing a policy package that sets out the measures governments and their national partners need to combat drug resistance. The policy steps recommended by WHO include:
  • develop and implement a comprehensive, financed national plan
  • strengthen surveillance and laboratory capacity
  • ensure uninterrupted access to essential medicines of assured quality
  • regulate and promote rational use of medicines
  • enhance infection prevention and control
  • foster innovation and research and development for new tools.
The discovery and use of antimicrobial drugs to treat diseases such as leprosy, tuberculosis, gonorrhea and syphilis changed the course of medical and human history. Now, those discoveries and the generations of drugs that followed them are at risk, as high levels of drug resistance threaten their effectiveness.

Drug resistance is a natural biological phenomenon, through which microorganisms acquire resistance to the drugs meant to kill them. With each new generation, the microorganism carrying the resistant gene becomes ever more dominant until the drug is completely ineffective. Inappropriate use of infection-fighting drugs (under use, overuse or misuse) causes resistance to emerge faster.
Resistance detected in a number of diseases
Last year, at least 440 000 new cases of multidrug resistant-tuberculosis were detected and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis has been reported in 69 countries to date. The malaria parasite is acquiring resistance to even the latest generation of medicines, and resistant strains causing gonorrhea and shigella are limiting treatment options. Serious infections acquired in hospitals can become fatal because they are so difficult to treat and drug-resistant strains of microorganism are spread from one geographical location to another in today's interconnected and globalized world. Resistance is also emerging to the antiretroviral medicines used to treat people living with HIV.
Getting everyone on the right track
“On this World Health Day, WHO is issuing a policy package to get everyone, especially governments and their drug regulatory systems, on the right track, with the right measures, quickly,” said Dr Chan. “The trends are clear and ominous. No action today means no cure tomorrow. At a time of multiple calamities in the world, we cannot allow the loss of essential medicines – essential cures for many millions of people – to become the next global crisis.”

"WHO has established many initiatives to understand and address drug resistance over the last decade, particularly in relation to some of the world's most deadly infectious diseases," said Dr Mario Raviglione, Director of WHO Stop TB Department, who has been leading the preparations for World Health Day 2011. "Those measures must now be further strengthened and implemented urgently across many diseases and across many sectors. New collaborations, led by governments working alongside civil society and health professionals, if accountable, can halt the public health threat of drug resistance."
Everyone can make a contribution
Although governments need to take the lead and develop national policies to combat drug resistance, health professionals, civil society and other groups can also make important contributions. For example, doctors and pharmacists can prescribe and dispense only the drugs that are required to treat a patient, rather than automatically giving either the newest or best-known medicines. Patients can stop demanding that doctors give them antibiotics when they may not be appropriate. Health professionals can help rapidly reduce the spread of infection in health care facilities.

Collaboration between human and animal health and agriculture professionals is also vital, as the use of antibiotics in food animal production contributes to increased drug resistance. Approximately half of current antibiotic production is used in agriculture, to promote growth and prevent disease as well as to treat sick animals. With such massive use, those drug resistant microbes generated in animals can be later transferred to humans.

Governments and partners need to work closely with industry to encourage greater investment in research and development of new diagnostics that can help improve decision making as well as drugs to replace those that are being lost to resistance. Today, less than five per cent of products in the research and development pipeline are antibiotic drugs. Innovative incentive schemes are needed to stimulate industry to research and develop new antimicrobial drugs for the future.

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