A threat to global health

Resistance to antibiotics is one of the greatest threats to global health, food security and development. Increasing numbers of serious infections are becoming more difficult to treat because of the loss of efficacy of antibiotics.

“Antibiotic-resistant bacteria prolong hospitalization, increase medical costs and, most worryingly, increase mortality,” said Pilar Ramón Pardo, PAHO/WHO’s antimicrobial resistance advisor.

A measure as simple as hand hygiene prevents the transmission of bacteria, which is critical in health facilities. When new infections are prevented, the use of antibiotics is reduced and, consequently, the development of resistance is also prevented.

“Cleaning your hands takes 20 seconds, but developing new antibiotics takes years,” Ramon Pardo said.

PAHO/WHO calls on policy makers to stop the spread of antibiotic resistance, making infection prevention and hand hygiene a national policy priority.

It also calls for the implementation of essential WHO components for the prevention and control of infections, including hand hygiene as an effective measure to combat antibiotic resistance.

And it advocates that hospital managers and managers maintain effective disease prevention and control programs associated with health care throughout the year to protect people.   PAHO RELEASE