World Health Organization launches World Antibiotic Awareness Week

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Baku, November 17, AZERTAC

The World Health Organization (WHO) launched the first World Antibiotic Awareness Week, which will run until 22 November. In response to growing antibiotic resistance globally, WHO stresses the need to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics to maintain global health security and strongly urges everyone to use antibiotics responsibly.

“All government sectors and society must take action to avoid a post-antibiotic era in which common infections could become life-threatening again,” said Dr Shin Young-soo, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific. "Regional collaboration is needed to document and track the trends of drug-resistant infections and the use of antimicrobials."

Antibiotic resistance refers to the development of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. If this happens, common antibiotics may no longer work to treat illnesses such as pneumonia or diarrhoea.

Antibiotic resistance is caused by: (1) overuse and misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals; (2) poor-quality antibiotics; (3) the spread of drug resistance in health facilities and in the community; and (4) lack of hygiene.

This year’s campaign—with the theme “Antibiotics: Handle with Care”—calls on individuals and health-care professionals to take action to ensure that future generations continue to have effective antibiotics to treat potentially deadly bacterial infections.

WHO encourages individuals to use antibiotics responsibly by always completing the full course of antibiotics prescribed, and to refrain from sharing or using leftover antibiotics, or buying antibiotics without a prescription.

WHO also encourages health-care professionals to prescribe and dispense antibiotics only when truly needed. This includes always selecting the right antibiotic, in the right dose, and prescribing for the right duration. They also need to educate patients on the responsible use of antibiotics and follow good hygiene and infection prevention and control practices.

Moreover, policy-makers must tackle antibiotic resistance in their respective countries with robust national action plans, policies and regulations. Sustainable programmes must be financed and implemented in order to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics.

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