The world is rapidly losing its ability to treat more common diseases such as dysentery, malaria and tuberculosis as they are increasingly becoming drug resistant, a new report said today.
Although World Health Organisation and other NGOs have increased their efforts to improve health care in poor and
developing countries, they have not paid much attention to the dangers of growing drug-resistance, said the report from the Centre for Global Development (CGD), a US-based research institute.
"Drug resistance is a natural occurrence, but careless practices in drug supply and use are hastening it
unnecessarily," said Rachel Nugent, who led expert group that prepared the report.
Millions of children in developing countries die annually from drug resistant strains of malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS and
other diseases, found the report titled "The Race Against Drug Resistance".
And since 2006, donors have spent more than $1.5 billion on advanced drugs to treat resistant diseases, it
"Unless action is taken, the stage is set for both the death toll and the dollar cost to rise. Donors are already
budgeting for increased purchases of expensive specialised drugs needed to treat resistant diseases," it warned.
In recent years, it said, governments and private funders have worked to increase developing-country access to drugs,
particularly for malaria, HIV, and tuberculosis.
Access to anti-retroviral drugs for HIV/AIDS patients rose more than 10-fold, deliveries of the most effective
anti-malarial drugs increased more than eight-fold, and access to TB drugs rose dramatically.
"These are laudable efforts that have saved many lives, but they are hindered by drug resistance that could be
avoided," the CGD report said. "Until now, surprisingly little effort has gone into ensuring that life-saving drugs will
continue to work."
The report claimed that there is a strong link between the volume of drug use and emergence of drug resistance,
particularly in settings with weak safeguards for appropriate use and monitoring of effectiveness.