The week from November 14 to 20 is being observed as the World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2016. The aim of the programme is to increase awareness of antibiotic resistance among the general public, health workers and policy makers about antibiotic resistance and to avoid further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.
Resistance to antibiotics and other microbial medicines was acknowledged as a major health problem in May 2015 at the 68th World Health Assembly where an action plan to tackle the problem at a global level was endorsed.
Improving awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance through effective communication, education and understanding was one of the key objectives of the plan.
This second edition of WAAW focuses on health care workers and their crucial role in defending the power of antibiotics.
The overall theme of the campaign, Antibiotics: Handle with Care, reflects the overarching message that antibiotics are a precious resource and should be preserved.
They should be used to treat bacterial infections, only when prescribed by a certified health professional. Antibiotics should never be shared and the full course of treatment should be completed – not saved for the future.
WHO/Europe joins the United Nations General Assembly’s call for immediate action against antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and urges all countries in the European Region to take part in WAAW.
As resistance of microbes to antibiotics knows no borders, this is a unique opportunity to join the global community in advocating for prudent antibiotic use. WAAW continues and broadens the scope of European Antibiotic Awareness Day, a European initiative that WHO/Europe joined in 2012 and extended to non-European Union countries.
This followed the European strategic action plan on antibiotic resistance, adopted by European countries in 2011.
One of the key objectives of these plans is to improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance through effective communication, education and training.