World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (18th – 24th November) aims to achieve two goals – firstly, to increase global awareness of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and secondly, to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections.
Antimicrobials are crucial to helping fight diseases in humans, animals and plants. There have been multiple factors that have accelerated the threat of AMR such as overuse of medicines and poor access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene.
Here’s what you need to know this World Antimicrobial Awareness Week from our home doctor experts at House Call Doctor.
What is AMR and why is it a concern?
Antimicrobials include antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals and antiparasitic medicines.
AMR occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites develop the ability to resist the effect of medications which makes it harder to treat common infections.
AMR is a major concern with the World Health Organisation declaring AMR is one of the greatest threats to human and animal health, as well as food and agriculture. COVID-19 has also had an impact on AMR with people misusing antibiotics to treat coronavirus.
What are the key messages for Antimicrobial Awareness Week?
- Antimicrobials are a precious resource but their usefulness could be lost without appropriate use
- Antimicrobial resistance is happening now – it is a worldwide problem that affects human and animal health
- Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria stop an antibiotic from working effectively meaning some infections may become impossible to treat
- Few new antimicrobials are being developed to help support this challenge
- Misuse of antimicrobials contributes to antimicrobial resistance
- Whenever antimicrobials are used, they must be used with care.
What can you do to help limit the development of AMR?
During World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, you can join in the conversation on social media using the hashtags #antimicrobialresistance, #worldantimicrobialawarenessweek and #WAAW.
Maintaining consistent hygiene practices and keeping up to date with vaccinations can play a crucial role in limiting the development of AMR. It’s also important to follow your health professional’s instructions as to whether or not you need antibiotics when ill, and how to properly take the medication.
Where can I find more information?
You can head to the following websites for more information: