Global leaders gathered here at the U.N. headquarters on Wednesday for a high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance, with multiple leaders speaking out about the growing threat of infections that no longer respond to the drugs used to treat them.
The meeting was part of the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA). It's only the fourth time in history that the heads of state have met to discuss a health issue, but the urgency of the current crisis of drug-resistant bacteria is clear: it's estimated that the number of people who die from antibiotic resistance infections will reach 10 million a year in 2050.
"It's not that it may happen in the future, it's a very present reality," said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He added that over 20,000 newborn children are expected to die each year from infections that do not respond to antibiotics. Resistance to HIV drugs is also on the rise, and leaders are concerned about the potential for malaria-drug resistance.