ghp July 2015 pdf

ghp July 2015 | 19 public health Gabriel Wikström, Minister for Health Care, Public Health and Sport for the Swedish Social Democratic Party, recently spoke about Antibiotic Resist- ance within his speech that was held in Uppsala. Also discussing the global health care systems and innovation. “Every year AMR (Antimicrobial resistance) already kills half a million people worldwide. The costs, in human and in financial terms are already huge. A heavy price for poorer countries who can least afford it.” “We are heading back to before Lister and Pasteur. Back to when infection was a routine killer. Because of ignorance, but also because of convenience, laziness, perverse financial incentives and sheer bad luck.” Here Wikström throws accusation at first world countries that, despite their advanced knowledge, still don’t use sys- tems which could prevent hundreds of hospitalisations. “Sweden fully supports a strong WHO. It seems self-ev- ident that only a strong World Health Organisation can deal with global threats to health. An organisation that must, and will adapt and evolve. And an organisation that will support Member States in building strong and resilient health systems. Because without such health systems worldwide, as Ebola taught us, we simply cannot fight global health threats like AMR.” Wikström outlined how the representatives of different sections of healthcare had to come together to help in the fight against AMR. “You also represent very different stakeholders. Which makes your own experience and your own perspectives of the greatest value to us all. Be- cause for the Global Action Plan to work – to work with the many complex challenges AMR involves worldwide – will involve collectively, and worldwide, all our efforts.” Wikström also highlighted that this campaign was not restricted to Sweden, “globally, how can we best approach tackling the differences in situations and needs worldwide?” While we are speaking on the vital importance of strong health systems at the World Health Assembly (WHA), Genève, Gabriel spoke about what happens with weak and fragile health systems, such as the medical staff and victims of Ebola in Liberia, or Guinea, or Sierra Leone. He stated that, “This is why building systems in every country, that will work when really needed, must be at the very centre of our attention, for both the WHO, and for all of us member states. As far as bacteria and viruses are concerned, there are no borders. Instead we are left with humans whom have weaknesses to identify, explore, and exploit. Therefore we simply must have a strong World Health Organisation that adapts and evolves. We also need to ensure that we have a WHO that supports member states so that they can build and sustain strong and resilient health systems. Also a WHO that has the capacity to act at both global and local levels. To get to this stage, we cannot abandon overwhelmed nations with fragile health systems. This also means that we cannot leave global health security to private or- ganisations with limited resources. Inevitably, we cannot tie strings to our funding and turn our backs.” The WHO must learn from past mistakes, just as it must be the WHO that leads and coordinates in global health. He also highlighted that one of the main points that he was trying to get across in this speech was that, “We must never forget that any success or failure of the WHO is a shared responsibility. A responsibility for us all, every member state, as well as the Secretariat. So failure in the eyes of patients and relatives, or medical staff caught up in the brutal realities of Ebola, or the global spread of AMR, is our failure. Any lack of trust, or confidence, or determination is also ours. The WHO is simply a mirror of our individual - as well as our collective efforts. Perhaps the greatest threat to future global health is not a lack of knowledge, but neglecting to act on what we know. So for the WHO to succeed we need to focus a little more on what WHO reflects of ourselves. When this assembly adopts the Global Action Plan on AMR we are showing the world that we Mem- ber States take this problem seriously and are prepared to act. No action today - no cure tomorrow. So I hope that this session will also reflect on what we need to see about ourselves, s individuals, as member states, and together. What can we really do, and on what we really must do? This should inevitable allow us to have the WHO that the world needs.” Finally, in another speech, this time in Stockholm 2014, Gabriel’s reference to Alexander Fleming’s message of warning opens the speech on a grave note, setting the tone of what he terms ‘the sombre issues’ on which he is speaking. “The determination to muster enough common action. For the hope we might still avoid the worst - a post-anti- biotic dark age.” “Apocalyptic tone appropriate to the vastness of the idea that all infections could eventually be resistant to all antibiotics. Which is why tackling antimicrobial re- sistance, and above all antibiotic resistance has been a priority for Sweden for many years. This is not just a pri- ority for me as the minister for public health and health care. It is a priority for the whole Swedish government.” Wikström emphasised the scale importance which is placed on the issue. “Just spreading information is not going to be enough. Even if every doctor knew the risks. Even if every patient knew the risks. It still would not be enough.” Here Wikström highlighted the need for research and the issue that this is not preventable merely at individual level- is a larger problem. “In human terms, in facing sickness and suffering, how can we lay the responsibility for these stark choices on the shoulders and heart of just one individual? On a patient? Or on a parent? Or even on a doctor? After all, the individual did not create the problem – the reason for these hard choices. The problem is systematic. The problem is structural.” Wikström makes a passionate case for the revaluation of global health practises using the emotive example of individual challenges. To solve a structural problem, we need common structures and common guidelines, “So the WHO Global Action Plan to combat antimicrobial resistance will be absolutely key. The key to our common international efforts. So it is therefore crucial we all support WHO in its work to fully develop and implement the Global Action Plan. Today, as we all know, we do not have a global programme to collect that data for AMR surveillance.”