Uppsala Health Summit: A world without antibiotics

The annual Uppsala Health Summit was organised on 2-3 June and the theme for this year was antibiotic resistance. The 180 invited experts discussed concrete action and next steps on the many interlinked issues concerning antibiotic resistance. The Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation co-organised the workshop “Access, not Excess – Rational Use of Antibiotics”.

Swedish Minister Gabriel Wikström opened the conference by stressing the need for political and global action to combat antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance (ABR), or antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as it is referred to in the broader sense, has gained much international attention lately, as was underscored by through broadcast statements by US President Obama, UK Prime Minister Cameron and German Chancellor Merkel. Vytenis Andriukaitis, the EU Commissioner for Health & Food Safety, said, through a video statement, that he has made AMR one of the priorities during his current mandate period and stressed the importance of the collaborative and multisectoral ‘one health’ policy approach. Professor Otto Cars from ReAct, one of the leading experts on ABR, stated “what we need now is action, action and action”. Dr Suwit Wibulpolprasert from Thailand emphasised this sentiment saying that “action without planning is better than planning without action – stop planning and start acting”.

The Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation co-organised the workshop “Access, not Excess – Rational Use of Antibiotics” in which participants examined real life case stories from low- and middle-income countries through presentations by Martha Gyansa-Lutterodt (Ghana) and Suwit Wibulpolprasert (Thailand). Participants where then tasked with discussing a hypothetical case for controlled distribution and use, challenges and opportunities for a fictitious new antibiotic, “BACTERM”, released in a low-income country context. Divided into stakeholder groups, participants identified possible stakeholder actions – all while balancing access to effective medicine and reducing excess use of the drug. It was apparent from the exercise that governments need to be on the frontline of response, but many other critical issues also came to the fore such as need for financial models, information spread and stakeholder coordination.

Hetty van Beers-Schreurs from the Netherlands Veterinary Medicine Authority announced that the Netherlands will make the battle against antibiotic resistance one of their key priorities during their upcoming EU presidency 2016. A summary report from Uppsala Health Summit will be published and distributed after the summer and available on the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation’s website.



Uppsala Health Summit brings together different perspectives to address challenges and dilemmas in order to improve utilization of medical advancements so that health outcome can be significantly improved in all parts of the world, despite limited resources. Uppsala Health Summit is partnered and sponsored by representatives from industry, university and healthcare with long experience of healthcare development.