World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAK) is celebrated every November to increase global awareness of antibiotic resistance(AMR) and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotics are a precious resource, so it is important to get the right advice before taking them. This will ensure that you and your family get the best treatment while minimizing antibiotic resistance.
Throughout all WAAW 2018 two key messages are selected to help guide discussion on antibiotic use and take steps towards wider public understanding of antibiotic resistance. These messages are:
Think twice. Seek advice
Misuse of Antibiotics puts us all at Risk
Antibiotic resistance is occurring everywhere in the world, and affecting the treatment of infectious diseases. Though the antibiotic resistance occurs naturally, but misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the process. A large number of infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, and gonorrhoea are becoming difficult to treat as the antibiotics used to treat them become less effective now.
Antibiotics are medicines used to prevent and treat bacterial infections. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in a way that reduces the effectiveness of these medicines. The bacteria survive and continue to multiply, causing more harm.
Antimicrobial resistance is called when microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites) change when they are exposed to antimicrobial drugs (such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, antimalarials, and anthelmintics). Microorganisms that develop antimicrobial resistance are sometimes referred to as “superbugs.
Taking antibiotics when you don’t need them speeds up antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistant infections are more complex and harder to treat. They can affect any one, of any age, in any country. We all have a part to play in preserving the effectiveness of antibiotics by preventing the spread of infections and changing how we prescribe and use these medicines.
Global Action Plan
Tackling antibiotic resistance is a high priority for World Health Organisation (WHO) therefore the Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly (WHA) in May 2015 formed the Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (GAP-AMR) including antibiotic resistance and one of the key objectives of the plan is to raise awareness about antimicrobial resistance through effective communication, education and training.
WHO is also coordinating ‘Antibiotics: Handle with care’ a global campaign to raise awareness and encourage best practices among the public, policymakers, health and agriculture professionals as part of implementation of objective 1 of the global action plan on antimicrobial resistance.
National Programme on Containment of Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR)
India has given due cognizance to the problem of Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and to tackle this issue, Government of India has launched a “National Programme on Containment of Antimicrobial Resistance” under the 12th five-year plan (2012-2017).
National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (NAP-AMR) 2017 – 2021, India
The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India has formulated the National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (NAP-AMR) in alignment with global action plan (GAP-AMR) in April 2017. In July 2017 India is also enrolled into new global AMR surveillance system- GLASS (Global antimicrobial resistance surveillance system)
The National Health Policy 2017 identifies antimicrobial resistance as a problem and calls for effective action to address it such as framing guidelines regarding antibiotic use, limiting the use of antibiotics as over-the-counter medications, banning or restricting the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in animal livestock, and pharmacovigilance including prescription audits for antibiotic usage in the hospital and community.
An international conference on antimicrobial resistance “Combating Antimicrobial Resistance: A Public Health Challenge and Priority”, was jointly organized by the Government of India and WHO in February 2016.
In addition, the MoHFW has also identified AMR as one of the top 10 priorities for the Ministry’s collaborative work with WHO for 2018–2019.
You can help prevent antibiotic resistance:
Messages to promote safe use of antibiotics:
“It is not too late to reduce the impact of antibiotic resistance”.
How much do you know about antibiotic resistance? Quiz
Related page- World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2017