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G20 Health Ministers commit to reducing the inappropriate use of antibiotics through the use of diagnostics

The first Meeting of Health Ministers of the Group of Twenty leading industrialised and emerging economies (G20) took place in Berlin on 19 and 20 May 2017.

Davos 2017: Committing to Diagnostic Solutions to Tackle Antimicrobial Resistance

Held under the banner of “Together Today for a Healthy Tomorrow – Joint Commitment for Shaping Global Health”, the two-day meeting focused on combating global health hazards. Germany took over the Presidency of the G20 – the Group of Twenty leading industrialised and emerging economies – for one year on 1 December 2016.

One of the major topics under discussion at the G20 Meeting of Health Ministers was on combating antimicrobial resistance (AMR) - one of the biggest threats to global health that affects industrialised and developing countries alike. It was recognised that one of the most important responses comprises the National Action Plans on antimicrobial resistance called for in the WHO Global Action Plan on AMR. Germany has shown the way with the German Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy (DART) and had been presenting an interim report on progress in Germany’s efforts during the G20 Meeting of Health Ministers. By the end of 2018, the G20 countries committed to lead by example to combat Antimicrobial Resistance by developing and implementing national action plans based on a One-Health approach.

Federal Minister of Health Hermann Gröhe stated: “Dangerous diseases and antimicrobial-resistant pathogens do not stop at national borders. They cause unspeakable human suffering. And they can dramatically set back the social, economic and political development of whole countries. That we have put the fight against transnational health hazards on the G20 agenda is an important milestone for global health. The G20 represent two-thirds of the global population and three-quarters of global trade. We have to confront global health crises together.”

The G20 Health ministers signed up to a declaration under the banner of “Together Today for a Healthy Tomorrow”. Among the measures outlined was a coordinated global response to fight AMR: 

“As the premier forum for international economic cooperation, the G20 can contribute to overcoming global health challenges. Global health risks, such as infectious disease outbreaks and antimicrobial resistance (AMR), have a severe impact on the lives and well-being of millions of people as well as on the global economy. Since these global challenges cannot be addressed by one country, region or sector alone, they call for a coordinated global response. For this reason, the G20 is well placed to contribute to joint commitment and action in close cooperation with the WHO. This is critical in order to ensure a healthy tomorrow for all. Under the 2017 German G20 Presidency, the G20 focuses primarily on preventing and mitigating the devastating impact of health emergencies and counteracting the burden that AMR places on societies and economies.”

Once again the role of diagnostics in reducing antimicrobial resistance was acknowledged in the declaration along with a commitment to promote the prudent use of antimicrobials through the use of diagnostics:

“The prudent use of antimicrobials in both human and animal health is of utmost importance to preserve the effectiveness of existing and new antibiotics for as long as possible. Medical examinations and the use of appropriate diagnostics support the prudent use of antimicrobials……. We will foster the reduction of the inappropriate use of antibiotics through education, training of health professionals and the use of appropriate diagnostic tools.”

Further information on the G20 Health Minister’s declaration can be found here: https://www.bundesgesundheitsministerium.de/fileadmin/Dateien/3_Downloads/G/G20-Gesundheitsministertreffen/G20_Health_Ministers_Declaration_engl.pdf

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