World Antimicrobial Awareness Week – 18th to 24th November 2021

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week – 18th to 24th November 2021

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) aims to increase awareness of global antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and to encourage best practices among the public, health workers, farmers, animal health professionals and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections.

The theme for WAAW 2021 is: 

Spread awareness, stop resistance.

Antibiotics are medicines used to prevent and treat bacterial infections.

Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in response to the use of these medicines. Antibiotic resistance is rising to dangerously high levels globally; new resistance mechanisms are emerging, spreading and threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases. A growing list of infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, blood poisoning, gonorrhoea, and foodborne diseases are becoming harder, and sometimes impossible, to treat as antibiotics become less effective.

Antibiotic resistance is an increasingly serious public health problem.

The misuse and overuse of antibiotics, coupled with poor infection prevention and control has accelerated the incidence of antibiotic resistance. This is particularly true in cases where antibiotics can be obtained for human or animal use without a prescription. Without urgent action, we are heading for a post-antibiotic era, where a common bacterial infection could be a death sentence. So when you need antibiotics in the future they may no longer work.

Antibiotic resistance leads to higher medical costs, prolonged hospital stays and increased mortality.

To prevent and control the spread of antibiotic resistance:

  • Only use antibiotics when prescribed by a certified health professional.
  • Never demand antibiotics if your health care provider says you do not need them.
  • Do not share or use leftover antibiotics.
  • Prevent infections by regularly washing hands, preparing food hygienically, avoiding close contact with sick people, practising safer sex, and keeping vaccinations up to date.
  • Prepare food hygienically, following the WHO Five Keys to Safer Food (keep clean, separate raw and cooked, cook thoroughly, keep food at safe temperatures, use safe water and raw materials) and choose foods that have been produced without the use of antibiotics for growth promotion or disease prevention in healthy animals.