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Global Health Summit Launches a Major New Worldwide Parliamentary Initiative

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The G7 and G20 health summit, held at the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva on 19th–20th June, warned that without strong sustainable national action plans, deaths from AMR and Sepsis will overwhelm national health services, particularly in the most vulnerable countries. Currently, five million people die each year from drug resistant-diseases.

Working with 140 English- and French-speaking parliaments, the summit launched a tool kit for members of parliament to press their national governments to urgently implement measures that will address the rising death toll.

170 countries around the world have national action plans to fight antimicrobial resistance; however, a WHO analysis shows that the majority of these action plans are not properly funded or implemented.

Welcoming the initiative, Alan Donnelly, the chair of the summit meeting, said, “By working with parliaments around the world, we will move towards game-changing concrete measures that will help to curb the growing threat of AMR”.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, also gave his support to the report.

National parliaments are being urged to demand regular reports from ministers on the implementation of national action plans and detailed information about the financing for research and product development for new diagnostics and antibiotics.

Furthermore, countries are being urged to appoint an AMR envoy, similar to the role filled by Dame Sally Davies, the former chief medical officer for England, to ensure a cross-government approach, including the overuse of antibiotics in farming.

Three leading legislators compiled the recommendations in the AMR Legislators Report after a series of comprehensive hearings with experts over a period of six months: Dame Angela Eagle, DBE; former French Health Minister Professor Agnès Buzyn; and the chair of the Zambian national assembly health committee, Hon. Dr Christopher Kalila. They believe that governments must be held to account on this critical health issue by national legislators.

The legislators report was endorsed yesterday by the Hon. Laurent Wehrli, chair of the parliamentary network to fight HIV or AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria of the L’Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie (APF), chair of the education, culture, and education commission of the APF, and member of the national council of Switzerland.

The legislators report will be sent to all UN Member States in advance of the United Nations General Assembly high-level meeting on AMR held in September.

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