Share this page

Resistance management

Antimicrobial resistance 

Bacteria, viruses and parasites are evolving to outsmart the drugs widely used to kill them. These include medicines used to treat some of the most common and potentially dangerous infectious diseases, such as antibiotics for pneumonia and tuberculosis, antiretroviral treatment for HIV/AIDS, and antimalarial drugs.

As resistance mechanisms emerge and spread, our ability to treat infections is compromised. The drugs take more time to work and as a result the patient may not recover completely and is infectious for longer. Poor recovery can lead to long term illness, disability and even death. It is unsurprising, therefore, that the World Health Organization (WHO) has deemed antimicrobial resistance (AMR) an ‘increasingly serious threat to global public health’.

Malaria drug resistance

Parasite resistance to malaria treatments is not a recent occurrence; it first appeared in the 1970s and 1980 when the antimalarial medicines of the time began to lose their effectiveness. Artemisinin based combination therapies remain the most effective drugs, but face similar challenges as resistance re-emerges in parts of Southeast Asia. Limiting the spread of antimalarial drug resistance in the region – and the development of resistance in other parts of Asia, Africa and beyond – is a global public health priority. 

We are supporting continuous monitoring of drug resistance in malaria-endemic countries along with research into the various contributing factors. This in turn, helps health authorities and practitioners control the spread of drug resistance more effectively. We are recognised as being among the foremost experts on the development of drug resistance response strategies in the Southeast Asia Greater Mekong Delta region, where resistance is particularly evident. 

Antibiotic resistance

We are focused on strengthening monitoring, evaluation and surveillance systems to support efforts to control emerging resistance to widely used antibiotic treatments – particularly among vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations.

For more information about AMR, please visit WHO’s fact sheet on this issue.

 
Related content

23 April 2015

The threat of drug resistant malaria

Type: Advocacy
1 January 2014

Antibiotic resistance: a ticking time bomb for public health?

Type: News article
17 November 2015

Preventing malaria transmission through the cross border surveillance

Type: Blog post
26 February 2016

Exposure to deltamethrin affects development of Plasmodium falciparum inside wild pyrethroid resistant Anopheles gambiae s.s. mosquitoes in Uganda

Type: Journal article

 

Quick links