Remarks by Acting Mission Director Ramona El Hamzaoui at the Antimicrobial Resistance Summit: One World, One Health, One Fight

Thursday, January 16, 2020

(As prepared for delivery)

Good morning.

It is an honor to be here today for this important summit on antimicrobial resistance.

I would first like to thank and acknowledge the Government of India for its leadership in addressing anti-microbial resistance. AMR is a complex issue that demands a collaborative, multi-sectoral approach and the Government of India is deploying its resources across multiple disciplines to address this serious public health threat. 

I would particularly like to acknowledge the work of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the National Centre for Disease Control, the Indian Council of Medical Research, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India for their collective participation in today’s event. 

I would also like to thank the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the United Nations Environment Program, and my colleagues in the United States Government for their work in organizing this convening. 

Your leadership on AMR is extremely important, not just for India, but for the global community.

Like all of you, I am here today because anti-microbial resistance is one of the most significant global health threats of the 21st century. The discovery of antibiotics in the last century gave us an edge in the battle against infectious diseases. 

But their widespread availability and indiscriminate use in humans, animals, and in the environment could take us back to a time when people routinely died from common bacterial infections, threatening global health, food security, and human development. 

Antimicrobial Resistance occurs when bacteria and other microbes develop the ability to defeat the very drugs designed to kill them. And as we all know, this resistance is the result of a complicated web of activities, which ironically, were designed to improve and better our lives. 

Activities like the unnecessary or inappropriate use of antibiotics and other drugs in humans; the mass administration of antibiotics to food-producing animals for growth promotion and the prevention of infections; and the spread of human, animal, and pharmaceutical waste are all contaminating the environment with antimicrobials and resistant microbes.

While resistance to antibiotics is growing, regulatory and economic challenges have made investments in new antibiotics and other antimicrobials riskier and less financially rewarding. Indeed, no new class of antibiotics has been developed in more than 40 years. This makes prevention and containment even more important.

Like diseases, AMR also does not respect borders, and as it increases worldwide, we face the very real threat that we will lose the progress we’ve made in health care, food production, and life expectancy.  

Addressing the threat of AMR requires partnerships among countries and a multi-sectoral and interdisciplinary ‘One Health’ approach that recognizes the shared connections among people, animals, and our environment.    

India and the United States share a common interest in the AMR threat.  More than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur each year in the United States, which is also home to one of the highest per capita consumers of antibiotics worldwide. 

India also has a high burden of AMR, and more antibiotics are used in aggregate in India than in any other country. While this is a challenging situation, it is not impossible if we work together and use our unique strengths to find to potential solutions.  

The U.S. government through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of Health and Human Services (including the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health, and the Food and Drug Administration) are working together with India to attack the problem from various angles, including strengthening hospital infection control, building surveillance systems for antimicrobial-resistant infections, supporting scientists and innovators working toward AMR solutions, and funding the development of critically needed new antimicrobials.

USAID and CDC are working with various stakeholders to strengthen surveillance of AMR in human and animal health, encourage appropriate use of antimicrobials, and develop state action plans for the containment of AMR using a One Health approach in selected states.

And thorough our work to combat tuberculosis, USAID/India is helping to facilitate the introduction of new drugs and treatment regimens for Drug-Resistant TB – an example of AMR with particularly dire consequences.

Containment requires a ‘One World, One Health and One Fight” approach that recognizes the shared connections among people, animals, and our environment. 

Today’s summit is a perfect symbol of U.S.- India cooperation and a launch pad for what we can do together – for our two countries, and for the entire world.  Today’s event is also a call to action to renew our shared commitment to accelerate our response to address the AMR threat on the future of our world

I wish all of you much success in this critical battle. Thank you. 

New Delhi
Issuing Country 

Last updated: January 22, 2020

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