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Help keep us all healthy and safe from drugs resistant to antibiotics.
By 2050, drug-resistant superbugs are likely to become the number one cause of death in the UK. Fighting them is already costing the NHS £1 billion a year. Many of these infections come to the UK from other parts of the world. Antibiotic resistance is a growing global health emergency that already contributes to nearly 5 million deaths every year.
Hygiene in healthcare facilities is crucial to reduce the spread of many life-threatening infectious agents – and yet half of the world’s health facilities still do not have basic hand hygiene services. This rises to two thirds across the 46 least developed countries.
What the UK government can do
The UK is a world leader when it comes to antibiotic resistance. It is therefore uniquely placed to catalyse progress in achieving universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in healthcare facilities as a simple, cost-effective solution that can help protect everyone’s health by preventing infections from spreading in the first place. It can do this by:
- Taking the lead on international advocacy to improve WASH in healthcare facilities to help prevent antibiotic resistance.
- Making sure it is on the agenda at the G7 meetings in May and other critical global meetings.
- Ring-fencing just 0.3% of its annual overseas aid budget for water, sanitation and hygiene in healthcare facilities.
- Ensuring all FCDO health programmes support progress on WASH in healthcare facilities as a core component.
What your MP can do
Your MP can find out more by reading the final report of the recent parliamentary inquiry into the links between antibiotic resistance and inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in healthcare settings across the world’s least developed countries - and urging the government to act on its recommendations.
Why should the UK government care?
"Often called the silent pandemic, we can no longer ignore the global crisis of antibiotic resistance. We are already seeing the toll it is taking on the NHS, and our health systems, let alone health systems globally. Infections don’t respect borders.
"Without effective global action, the UK’s world leading efforts to tackle antibiotic resistance here will be of little use as most multi-drug resistant infections treated in the UK originated elsewhere in the world."
Dr Nicholas Brown
British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy’s Director of Public and Professional Engagement