UN makes historic move on antibiotic resistance: 5 things to know

All 193 United Nation member states agreed in a declaration Sept. 21 to address the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, according to The Guardian. Here are five things to know about the U.N.'s approach to combating antibiotic resistance.

1. Making history. The high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance Sept. 21 was just the fourth time the U.N. General Assembly had discussed a health issue — the others were HIV, noncommunicable diseases, and Ebola.

2. Building blocks. The countries pledged commitment to build action plans based on the "Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance," developed in 2015 by the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Organisation for Animal Health.

3. The plan. Each country will come up with a plan to monitor antibiotic use in healthcare and in agriculture, start reducing the drugs' use and also begin developing new antibiotics, according to NPR coverage. They will present their plans to the U.N. General Assembly in 2018 for a progress assessment.

4. Reason for optimism. "I think this is the first realistic chance, in our lifetime, to turn this around," Keiji Fukuda, MD, special representative for antimicrobial resistance to the director-general of WHO, told NPR. A similar U.N. declaration in 2001 on HIV helped the world make progress on that disease.

5. Potential weaknesses. The declaration did not set solid goals for antibiotic use reduction, and it is nonbinding, The New York Times reports.

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