Frontiers 2017: Emerging Issues of Environmental Concern. UN Environment, 2018.
From antimicrobial resistance to off-grid solar: Frontiers 2017 explores the newest environmental issues facing the planet.
How does our careless disposal of antimicrobial drugs produce bacteria that can resist them? Why are Marine Protected Areas vital to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals? Can off-grid solar plug the energy gap for cities in the developing world?
UN Environment experts will address these and other emerging issues with the launch of Frontiers 2017, its latest annual report on the most novel environmental challenges facing the planet.
The report covers six key emerging issues: the environmental dimension of antimicrobial resistance; nanomaterials; Marine Protected Areas and sustainable development; sand and dust storms; off-grid solar solutions; and environmental displacement.
The Role of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Healthcare Settings to Reduce Transmission of Antimicrobial Resistance. Antimicrobial Resistance Control, July 2016.
This article by USAID’s Rochelle Rainey and Merri Weinger concludes that antimicrobial resistance is a multisectoral problem that requires a comprehensive strategy, including WASH improvements, to prevent emergence and transmission.
The lack of safe water, functional toilets, and handwashing facilities in healthcare settings poses significant health risks to patients, healthcare workers and nearby communities. The ongoing global problem of health facility-acquired infections (HAI) has highlighted the consequences of the lack of water and sanitation facilities and practice of key hygiene behaviours.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a multisectoral problem that requires a comprehensive strategy, including WASH improvements, to prevent emergence and transmission. Hand hygiene has been cited as the single most important practice to reduce HAI, and improved hand hygiene practices have been associated with a sustained decrease in the incidence of antimicrobial-resistant infections in healthcare settings.
WASH also plays a role in the cleaning of surfaces and bedding for preventing transmission of HAI. Leadership and commitment is needed from governments, international and local organizations, donors and civil society to implement the global action plan to achieve universal access to WASH in healthcare facilities.
Antibiotic waste is polluting India and China’s rivers; big pharma must act. The Guardian, October 25, 2016.
Pollution from drugs factories, many in India and China, is causing the spread of anti-microbial resistance. Pharma companies are under pressure to act
A strain of the E coli bacteria. Pollution from pharmaceutical production is a factor in the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Illustration: Janice Carr/AP
Antibiotic-resistant superbugs are a fundamental threat to global health, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon recently told a general assembly meeting. Failure to address the problem, he said, would make it “difficult if not impossible” to provide universal healthcare, “and it will put the sustainable development goals in jeopardy”.
For pharmaceutical companies the attention on antimicrobial resistance has also brought a focus on one of its key drivers: the unabated environmental pollution of drug factories in developing countries.
In India and China, where a large proportion of antibiotics are produced, the poorly regulated discharge of untreated wastewater into soils and rivers is causing the spread of antibiotic ingredients which cause bacteria to develop immunity to antibiotics, creating superbugs.
A study of wastewater factories in China found that antibiotic-resistant bacteria were not only escaping purification but also breeding. For every bacterium that entered one waste treatment plant, four or five antibiotic-resistant bacteria were released into the water system, tainting water, livestock and communities.
Read the complete article.
Superbugs 1, the world 0 | Source: The Conversation, Oct 5 2016 |
World leaders have committed US$790m to fighting superbugs. These are infectious diseases that don’t respond to treatment using antibiotics – an essential defence against infections after surgery.
They are also essential in complex treatment programmes, such as chemotherapy. But antibiotics are being misused. They are often wrongly prescribed for viral diseases, such as the flu, and they are increasingly used in livestock to encourage growth. This abuse of antibiotics is leading to strains of bacteria that are resistant to all antibiotics. Without urgent action, it is estimated that antimicrobial resistance will result in 10m deaths annually by 2050.
Read the complete article.
Water, sanitation, and hygiene must be the first lines of defence against antimicrobial resistance. The Lancet Global Health Blog, Sept 21, 2016 |
Author : Yael Velleman. Yael Velleman is a WaterAid senior policy analyst on health and hygiene
As world leaders meet at the UN General Assembly to discuss the rise of drug-resistant micro-organisms globally, they would do well to consider the experience of the midwives at Kiomboi hospital, in the Iramba district of Tanzania.
Before a WaterAid intervention earlier this year, Kiomboi’s taps were dry for 23 hours per day, leaving medical professionals faced with a difficult choice: risk the transmission of infection during childbirth because the delivery room and instruments could not be properly cleaned, or prescribe precious antibiotics as a preventive measure, possibly contributing to the emerging problem of drug-resistant infections.
It is difficult to describe what it is like for medical professionals like these, delivering babies and caring for patients in a hospital without adequate access to clean water or proper sanitation. The water supply to the wards runs for just 1 hour per day, medical equipment is washed in the same sink that waste from the maternity ward is disposed into, and expectant mothers wash their babies’ clothes in the dirty water of a nearby river. The only toilet is fetid and dank and the shower is next to an open sewer. Dirty hands and dirty water mean that pathogens spread quickly and babies and their mothers risk infections like sepsis.
In March, when Kiomboi was without water for 3 consecutive weeks, staff told WaterAid they had to turn first to unpredictable collection of rainwater, and then had to send a car to collect water from a river. Without readily available clean water, midwives were not able to do their jobs safely. At least 12 babies developed sepsis during this period, and two of them died. Midwives were then faced with the torturous question of whether those babies’ deaths were their fault: were those infections transmitted in the delivery process?
April 7, 2011 – NEW DELHI: A superbug immune to almost all known antibiotics has been found in Delhi’s water. British scientists said they have found the New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM) 1 gene that makes bacteria highly resistant to all known drugs in the capital’s public water supply used for drinking, washing and cooking.
In August last year, after announcing the existence of this superbug created by the NDM1 gene, scientists had said it was hospital-acquired.
“Now, we know it is not present in hospital ICUs but is actually freely circulating in Delhi’s environment, both in the water people drink and those that lay stagnant,” Dr Mark Toleman from Cardiff university told TOI.
“Drinking contaminated water will help the superbug enter our bodies. However, we still don’t know how many in the population are already carrying the superbug,” Toleman said.
The most worrying factor was that the NDM1 gene had already spread to the bacteria that causes cholera and dysentery in India, the scientists said. Their findings were published in British medical journal ‘The Lancet Infectious Diseases‘ on Thursday.
This means when people carrying the superbug, especially children, suffer from a bout of cholera and dysentery, it would be nearly impossible to treat them with available antibiotics.