Sweden and UK highlight efforts to combat antibiotic resistance at ministerial breakfast

Published

On 23 May, Minister for Health and Social Affairs Lena Hallengren and UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid hosted a breakfast meeting for the Ministerial Alliance of Champions against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). Both countries established the alliance in 2015 and current members include the US, France and China. The meeting was held in connection with the World Health Assembly in Geneva.

Minister for Health and Social Affairs Lena Hallengren together with UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid, and the other ministers in the Ministerial Alliance of Champions against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)
Minister for Health and Social Affairs Lena Hallengren and UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid hosted a breakfast meeting for the Ministerial Alliance of Champions against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). Photo: Swedish Government Offices

“Antibiotic resistance can be described as ‘the silent pandemic’ and causes a million deaths around the world every year. We need to work together at international level to reduce the immense threat to people’s health should antibiotics stop working. That’s why this alliance of the world’s health ministers is important,” says Ms Hallengren.

At the meeting, the ministers discussed the possibility of engaging in the WHO collectively for pandemic preparedness linked to AMR at national, regional and global level. The ministers also followed up on the activities implemented since the last alliance meeting in 2019. This included a high-level meeting on AMR in 2021 and the planned ministerial conference on AMR in Oman in November 2022.

“The international community agrees that regulatory action against pandemics is needed, and it’s important that it includes an AMR perspective. The capacity and efforts required to prevent, prepare for, detect and manage pandemics must also include AMR, and all health ministers must work together on this,” says Ms Hallengren.

AMR Ambassador Malin Grape and UK Special Envoy on Antimicrobial Resistance Professor Dame Sally Davies also took part in the ministerial meeting. 

“The Ministerial Alliance of Champions against Antimicrobial Resistance is just one part of the long-term efforts supported by Sweden. Sweden has long worked on the issue of AMR, both within the EU and internationally. For example, Sweden and the UK co-drafted a resolution on AMR in the WHO in 2014, and it has been a driving force in the development of a global AMR surveillance system,” says Ms Grape.

Efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR), particularly antibiotic resistance

Sweden has long worked on the issue of AMR, both within the EU and internationally. Minister for Health and Social Affairs Lena Hallengren is co-chair of the UN Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance, whose aim is to promote the global efforts to reduce antimicrobial resistance.

In 2020, the Government adopted an updated strategy to combat antibiotic resistance. The overarching goal of the strategy is to preserve the possibility to effectively treat bacterial infections in humans and animals. It is in effect until 2023.