Call for evidence: An inquiry into the links between antibiotic resistance & lack of access to clean water, hygiene & sanitation facilities, in healthcare settings across the world’s least developed countries

3rd May 2022

The All-Party Parliamentary Groups on Antibiotics, and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, are staging a joint inquiry into the links between antibiotic resistance and lack of access to clean water, hygiene and sanitation facilities in healthcare settings across the least developed countries of the world.

Antibiotic resistance is now a leading cause of death worldwide (contributing to about 5 million deaths per annum) and poses an existential threat to future generations. Infection prevention and control is of foundational importance to containing and controlling antibiotic resistance – yet an enormous barrier exists.

One in three healthcare settings globally – and half of those in the world’s least developed countries – lack readily available access to handwashing facilities.

We are urging everyone with an interest in this topic to submit written evidence to the inquiry. We are particularly interested to hear from individuals and/or organisations in relation to the following questions.

Main framing questions:

  1. What role should UK Government play in leading a response to contain and control antibiotic resistance by addressing access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, in healthcare settings across the world’s least developed countries? 
    1. What, specifically, could the UK contribute to the global effort to contain and control antibiotic resistance by improving access to clean water, and sanitation and hygiene facilities?
    2. What should the UK focus on and prioritise?
    3. What are your key recommendations for the UK Government in terms of a) global advocacy b) bilateral and multilateral investments and c) policy and strategy development and implementation?
  2. Why is investing in water, sanitation and hygiene in healthcare settings in the world’s least developed countries an important area for UK to invest in to neutralise the threat of antibiotic resistance? We are particularly interested in the following aspects relating to this question:
    1. The scale of the problem and any effect on health outcomes – especially the impact on women and girls
    2. UK and global health security and pandemic prevention and preparedness
    3. Economic impact
    4. UK scientific expertise and thought leadership
    5. Experiences of people that use and/or work in healthcare settings that do not have access to clean water, and sanitation and hygiene facilities.

Submissions should be sent to AMRinquiry@wateraid.org by 1700 (BST) on Monday May 23, 2022.

All other correspondence, including any questions or comments, should be directed to mcorley@bsac.org.uk or RhianLewis@wateraid.org.

Please do forward this call for evidence to anyone else who might be interested in responding.

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Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change over time and no longer respond to drugs, making infection harder to treat, thereby increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness, and death. Antibiotic resistance is arguably the most concerning subset of antimicrobial resistance (which also incorporates drug-resistant viruses, fungi, and parasites). This inquiry will focus on the impact of antibiotic resistance.

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Following written submissions, members of the APPGs plan to stage at least one oral evidence session before considering the findings and publishing a report with recommendations.

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