Good health underpins social, human, and economic development, as well as security. The emergence
and spread of drug-resistant disease destabilizes this foundation. Drug-resistant disease, also known as antimicrobial resistance (AMR), occurs when microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites) become able to survive in the presence of drugs (such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, and antimalarials) resulting in infections that are no longer treatable. The development of resistance is a natural phenomenon; however, human actions can promote avoidable emergence and spread of drug-resistant disease.
Drug-resistant disease is a current and growing challenge throughout the world. Left unaddressed, it is projected to result in a reduction of 2 to 3.5 percent in global GDP and put at risk a cumulative $100 trillion of economic output by 2050. The ramifications of drug-resistant disease are profound.
Inter-governmental and governmental collaboration with faith-based organizations (FBOs) is critical for building local and global capacity to limit the emergence and spread of AMR. To realize this potential, the U.S. Department of State, Caritas Internationalis, the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, and the Gerald and Henrietta Rauenhorst (GHR) Foundation sponsored a four-day workshop in December 2016, with the support of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development and the Pontifical Council for Health Care of the
Holy See, to assess and recommend steps to strengthen capacity among faith-based organizations and religious healthcare providers to reduce the emergence and spread of drug-resistant disease and address the associated health, social, and developmental impacts of such illnesses.
The workshop brought together over 35 experts of primarily religiously affiliated organizations involved in medicine, education, communications, and logistics to outline current challenges to and offer recommendations for addressing drug-resistant disease throughout the world. This report assembles the workshop’s outcomes, lessons shared by participants, and information to support the hosting of similar workshops as a means for faith-based and secular stakeholders to take action to address drug-resistance.