United Nations General Assembly discusses antimicrobial resistance

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 19.9.2016 9.00
Press release 142

Pirkko Mattila, Minister of Social Affairs and Health, participates in the UN General Assembly in New York between 19 and 22 September. On behalf of Finland, Minister Mattila will address the general discussion of a high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance. In addition, she will present a comment in a panel on antimicrobial resistance as a multi-sectoral challenge.

Antimicrobial resistance is a global problem and resolving it requires international collaboration. Worldwide, antibiotics are used excessively in the treatment of people and animals and in growth promotion in production animals. As a consequence, many bacteria have become immune to antibiotics. Resistance increases faster than new antimicrobial medicines enter the markets.

Unless immediate measures are taken, the situation may result in lack of effective medicines even for the treatment of common infections in future. At the moment, tens of thousands of people in the EU alone die due to antimicrobial resistance. Responsible use of antimicrobial medicines and antibiotics, in particular, plays an important part in finding a solution.

Minister Mattila will also address a meeting on the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and antimicrobial resistance from the point of view of patient safety.

Other themes in the UN General Assembly include refugees and immigrants.

Alongside the General Assembly, Minister Mattila will participate in a side event on nutrition as a prerequisite for well-being and health organised by WHO, the World Health Organisation, and FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. Finland is committed to improving child nutrition. New guidelines for day-care centres and schools will enter into force next year. Cooperation between all sectors of society is required to improve the level of nutrition. There is also cooperation with the food industry, retailers and the restaurant and catering industry in order to reduce the amount of salt, saturated fat and sugar in food.

In connection with the General Assembly, the Minister will also meet the ministers of social affairs and health of the other Nordic Countries and Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO.

Further information:

Outi Kuivasniemi, Ministerial Counsellor for International Affairs, tel. +358 2951 63117
Anni-Riitta Virolainen-Julkunen, Ministerial Counsellor for Health/Medical Affairs (antimicrobial resistance ) tel. +358 2951 63324
Eero Lahtinen, Ministerial Counsellor for Health/Medical Affairs (antimicrobial resistance), tel. +358 2951 63320