In a fervent call to action, the President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH), Pharm. Samuel Kow Donkoh has addressed a distinguished gathering of stakeholders at a forum to commemorate the 2023 World Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Week (WAAW). The PSGH, in collaboration with World Health Organizations (WHO), Ministry of Health (MOH), and other key stakeholders, seek to address the critical issue of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and its severe impact on health, economies, and societies worldwide.

The President highlighted the urgency of the collective fight against AMR, stating that the event serves as an urgent call to action on antimicrobial management and use. Alarming statistics from the Global Research on Antimicrobial Resistance (GRAM) report were presented, revealing 1.27 million deaths in 2019 were directly attributable to drug resistant infections, with an overall 4.95 million deaths associated with complications from resistant bacterial infections. Notably, this surpassed mortality rates attributed to HIV/AIDS and Malaria, positioning AMR as a major global health challenge. Africa, with the world’s highest mortality rate from AMR-related infections, faces a significant threat, recording over 27 deaths per 100,000.

The President underscored the indiscriminate and excessive use of antibiotics in healthcare, animal husbandry, and food production as a major contributor to AMR. Without efficient control, AMR-related illnesses could cause a staggering 10 million annual deaths worldwide by 2050. Economically, AMR is projected to account for a 3.8% loss of the world’s annual GDP by 2050, with an estimated GDP shortfall of about US$3.4 trillion per year by 2030.

The economic fallout could push an additional 24 million people into extreme poverty, particularly impacting low- and middle-income countries like Ghana, which bear a greater burden of the AMR challenge. Compounding the crisis is the limited investment in the discovery and development of new classes of antimicrobials. Developing a new antibiotic is a time-consuming and financially burdensome process, taking 10-15 years and costing over $1 billion.

The PSGH President stressed that this critical juncture demands swift, coordinated, and unwavering responses. As the 2023 World AMR Awareness Week unfolds, the choices made today will shape the health and well-being of future generations. The PSGH, alongside global partners, calls for a united front to combat AMR and secure a healthier future for all.