OECD: Interventions to reduce resistant bacteria could save lives, money

A report today from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) suggests that investment in a package of measures to reduce antimicrobial resistance (AMR) could avert thousands of deaths each year and save money in the long run.

According to the OECD analysis, the proportion of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria could increase from 17% in 2015 to 18% in 2030 across the 33 OECD countries, with resistance to second- and third-line antibiotics expected to be 70% higher by 2030. In countries outside the OECD, resistance rates are higher and projected to grow even faster. If no effective action is taken, the report warns, an estimated 2.4 million people in Europe, North America, and Australia could die between 2015 and 2050, and OECD countries could spend up to $3.5 billion a year on AMR-related complications.

The report suggests, however, that governments could counter the problem with a combination of five affordable public health interventions: (1) improved environmental hygiene in healthcare facilities, including better hand hygiene; (2) stewardship programs to promote more prudent use of antibiotics; (3) use of rapid diagnostic tests to differentiate between bacterial and viral infections; (4) delayed antibiotic prescribing; (5) and public awareness campaigns.

“All the assessed interventions are ‘best buys’ to tackle AMR in the assessed countries given their high impact on population health, affordability to implement, and excellent cost-effectiveness ratio,” write the authors of the report. “Savings from delayed prescriptions, improved hand hygiene, and, in most cases, from stewardship programmes exceed the cost of implementation.”

The OECD analyzed three different packages of interventions and estimated that a mixed intervention package that includes stewardship programs, use of rapid diagnostic tests, mass media campaigns, and enhanced hospital hygiene could avert up to 47,000 deaths and save around $3 per person a year in OECD countries.

Source: CIDRAP

OECD report

Effective Surveillance  

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