South Africa: Drug-Resistant Infections - the Silent Pandemic That Must Be Tackled Now

analysis

The unchecked growth of drug-resistant infections is a silent pandemic with long-term implications for global health security. As the world reels from the impact of Covid-19, it would be a tragedy not to apply the lessons we are learning to the fight against drug resistance.

Drug-resistant "superbug" infections kill an estimated 700,000 people a year worldwide, a number set to rise exponentially as drug resistance grows and weakens our ability to treat even common infections.

A worrying number of infections are becoming harder - and sometimes impossible - to treat due to drug resistance.

The consequences of not addressing the silent pandemic of drug-resistant infections now could result in a future where we are unable to treat common infections like pneumonia, urinary tract infections and infections in newborns.

Africa is in a particularly precarious position. The continent has the largest burden of endemic diseases, such as HIV, TB and malaria and is faced with emerging infectious pathogens and a growing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

In a recent commentary, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) warned about the rising threat of AMR, given that AMR will cause an estimated four million deaths in Africa by 2050....

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