Antimicrobial resistance poses a global threat, and Canada is not ready, warns Senator Seidman

Ukraine President describes country’s fight for survival

“In a world where modern medicine depends heavily on antibiotics to treat infections and prevent serious diseases, the looming crisis of antimicrobial resistance cannot be ignored. Experts have been warning about this for years, and now, it is becoming clear that Canada must take action to address this pressing issue before it spirals out of control.

**The Urgent Need for Global Action**

Antimicrobial resistance is not just a local problem – it requires urgent global action. The misuse and overuse of antimicrobials in humans, animals, and plants have led to bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites becoming resistant to the drugs designed to treat them. This resistance increases the risk of serious disease spread, posing a threat to public health worldwide.

**The Alarming Statistics**

According to an expert panel of the Council of Canadian Academies, antimicrobial resistance cost the Canadian health-care system over $1.4 billion in 2018 and was responsible for the deaths of 5,400 Canadians. If resistance to all first-line antimicrobials reaches 40% by 2050, an estimated 13,700 Canadians will die each year from resistant bacterial infections. These statistics paint a grim picture of a future where common infections could once again become life-threatening.

**Call for Action**

Auditor General Karen Hogan’s report on antimicrobial resistance highlights the shortcomings in Canada’s approach to this crisis. The lack of concrete deliverables, timelines, ways to measure progress, and clear roles and responsibilities for each level of government in the Pan-Canadian Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance are concerning. Without these essential elements, progress in addressing antimicrobial resistance is unlikely to be achieved.

**Learning from Past Failures**

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the importance of learning from past failures and strengthening public health responses. The disposal of expired supplies of personal protective equipment, including N95 respirators, without adequate replacements in place left Canadian governments unprepared for the pandemic. As we navigate through this crisis, it is imperative that we prioritize the fight against antimicrobial resistance to prevent a similar scenario in the future.

**A Call to Action**

As an epidemiologist and aging-related health researcher, I urge the federal government and all levels of government to put antimicrobial resistance at the forefront of Canada’s agenda. The time for finger-pointing and blaming each other must end, and concrete action must be taken to address this growing threat. Canadians deserve better than to be left vulnerable to the consequences of antimicrobial resistance. It is time to act before it’s too late.

**In conclusion, let us come together to combat antimicrobial resistance and safeguard the health of Canadians for generations to come. The future is here, and it is up to us to ensure that it is a healthy and resilient one for all.”



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