In a major move to address the escalating threat of antimicrobial resistance, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently released the Medically Important Antimicrobial List for the year 2024. The list, formerly known as the WHO CIA List since its inception in 2005, has been renamed the WHO Medically Important Antimicrobial List (WHO MIA List). This follows a directive from WHO Member States in 2019, urging the Director-General to consistently update and maintain the list.
Designed as a risk management tool, the WHO MIA List serves as a crucial guide for national regulators, policymakers, and professional prescribers in the health and agriculture sectors. The list categorises antibacterial agents into three categories: critically important antimicrobial (CIA), highly important antimicrobial (HIA), and important antimicrobial (IA) to human medicine.
In a collaborative effort with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), and the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), the WHO MIA List aims to harmonise and align guidance related to antimicrobials. The document includes best practice statements aligned with the positions of the quadripartite organisations, emphasising the importance of preserving the effectiveness of the agents listed.
The release of the WHO MIA List is a strategic response to the pressing issue of antimicrobial resistance, as highlighted in the Seventy-second World Health Assembly. The assembly emphasised the need for a coordinated, multisectoral One Health approach to tackle this global challenge.
Member States are urged to remain committed at the highest political level to combat antimicrobial resistance and reduce associated burdens. The assembly encourages the implementation of actions outlined in the global action plan on antimicrobial resistance, stressing the prudent use of antimicrobials and the importance of clinical guidelines.
The tripartite agreement on antimicrobial resistance is welcomed by the WHO, and Member States are urged to actively participate in the annual antimicrobial resistance country self-assessment survey administered by Tripartite. The global community is called upon to accelerate the development and implementation of national action plans with a One Health approach to combat antimicrobial resistance effectively.
The WHO said that its continuous efforts, as reflected in the 2024 Medically Important Antimicrobial List, reinforce the commitment to addressing antimicrobial resistance and ensuring sustainable development in the face of this evolving public health challenge.