A global action plan to tackle the growing problem of resistance to antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines was endorsed at the Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly in May 2015. One of the key objectives of the plan is to improve awareness and understanding of AMR through effective communication, education, and training.
World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) is a global campaign that is celebrated annually to improve awareness and understanding of AMR and encourage best practices among the public, One Health stakeholders and policymakers, who all play a critical role in reducing the further emergence and spread of AMR.
This year, the theme of WAAW is “Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together.” The World Health Organization (WHO) calls on pharmacists to encourage the prudent use of antimicrobials and to strengthen preventive measures addressing AMR, “working together collaboratively through a One Health approach”.
STEPS TO SLOW THE SPREAD OF RESISTANCE?
Routine immunisation is the foundation for strong, resilient health systems and universal health coverage. Vaccines protect against more than 25 debilitating diseases, including measles, tetanus, meningitis, and typhoid, and every disease that is prevented by vaccination is an antimicrobial medicine avoided.
More than 1 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired every day worldwide. When used correctly and consistently, condoms offer one of the most effective methods of protection against STIs, including HIV and gonorrhoea, both of which are showing alarming levels of resistance to treatment globally.
Effective infection, prevention, and control (IPC), including hand hygiene, is the cornerstone of high-quality healthcare and one of the most effective ways of reducing the spread of antibiotic resistant organisms. This is particularly true in healthcare settings, where vulnerable and sick patients are more susceptible to developing drug resistant infections. Every infection prevented through handwashing is a medicine avoided and the threat of resistance reduced.
Although AMR is a natural part of evolution, the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials in people and animals, often without any professional oversight, is accelerating this process. Misuse includes people taking antibiotics for viral infections like colds and flu and healthy animals being given antimicrobials to promote growth or to prevent disease.
Pharmacists are uniquely positioned to educate the public about the dangers antimicrobial resistance poses and the steps they can take to reduce the risk thereof.