To guarantee safe cancer care outcomes, it is essential that we confront the five major roadblocks of antimicrobial resistance.
Firstly, enhancing public awareness about AMR and its potential consequences is critical for meaningful progress. This includes educating individuals about effective hygiene practices, responsible use of antibiotics, and making the general public more aware of the dangers posed by AMR — particularly to cancer patients.
Secondly, understanding that there is difficulty in defining clear solutions due to the complexity of healthcare systems and the numerous factors contributing to drug resistance. Not only is it complex to accurately pinpoint the source of AMR, it is also difficult to design a specific policy solution for how best to combat it. Without a thorough understanding of how these factors interact, it can be challenging for policymakers and healthcare providers to create effective plans that address AMR from all angles.
Thirdly, there is an absence of visual indication when addressing AMR. This makes it hard for policymakers and stakeholders at all levels to respect the seriousness of the situation concerning its impact on global health. Compared to other pandemics and fatal illnesses, such as HIV/AIDS, antimicrobial resistance is largely an invisible crisis.
Fourthly, emerging economies lack proper access to antimicrobials, and even worse, there is a severe deficiency in monitoring the success of AMR policy implementations. According to the AMR Control Supplement, millions of dollars have been allocated to raise awareness about the antimicrobial crisis and develop new financial incentives for research. Yet it is difficult to determine how successful those investments are in improving the proper use of antibiotics, causing an ongoing debate concerning the links between health programs and effective antibiotic usage.
Lastly, a lack of economic incentives exists for pharmaceutical companies to develop new antibiotics. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently reported that the pipeline for novel antimicrobials is in a drought-like state.
“The clinical pipeline of new antimicrobials is dry.” (Source: WHO)
In 2019, the WHO revealed that of the 32 antibiotics they have identified in clinical development since 2019, only a meager six were categorized as “innovative.” In addition, access to quality antimicrobials is still a huge problem. The scarcity of antibiotics has impacted nations in every stage of development, particularly in healthcare systems.
Ultimately, all five of these barriers must be addressed if we are going to make tangible progress in tackling antimicrobial resistance and reducing its effects on cancer care outcomes.