The World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) is observed annually from November 18 to 24 to highlight the increasing prevalence of drug-resistant microbes and to effectively promote strategies to treat microbial diseases. This health campaign is hosted by the World Health Organization to raise awareness about antimicrobial or antibiotic resistance across the globe and support best practises among health care professionals to avert further advent and spread of drug-resistant infections.
The theme for WAAW 2021 is “Spread Awareness, Stop Resistance”, with the slogan Antimicrobials: Handle With Care, remaining the same. Well, antibiotics have been a pivotal aspect of contemporary medicine since it’s invention, but it has become bothersome due to human overuse and misuse. Thus, WAAW stresses to promote the understanding about antimicrobial medicines and how their misuse and overuse in humans, animals, and the environment are speeding up at which microbes are adapting to resist their effect. The most extensively recognised antimicrobial medication being antibiotics, which is used to treat any infections caused by bacteria.
The health even also brings to light the role of pharmacists in adding value to enhanced hygiene through the production of alcohol-based hand sanitisers, observing the spread of antimicrobial resistance, and delivering reliable information for the patients and populace.
The World Health Organization recognised that antimicrobial resistance as an arising problem across the globe. Poor standard of living and the unhygienic environment was causing infections and diseases that were resistant to antibiotics. Thus, in May 2015, this health concern was elevated to an international emergency. The WHO disclosed that resistance mechanisms were making antibiotics less effective and made it difficult to effectively treat tuberculosis, pneumonia, blood poisoning and other lethal infections.
The key goals defined by WHO include:
- Raising awareness about antibiotics
- Increasing research and supervision
- Reducing infections
- Using antimicrobial medications, the right way
- Committing to continual investment
*Source: World Health Organisation
Facts About Antibiotic Resistance
Antibiotic resistance is a global problem, during this event it’s essential to remember that people are potentially affected – no matter where they live or how developed medical education and practices may be.
Antibiotic resistance is the consequence of natural evolution, where pathogens are exposed to an antibiotic, the weaker ones are killed, leaving behind the more resistant ones, which eventually pass on the greater resistance to their descendants.
Resistance is caused by using antibiotics inappropriately, thus taking antibiotics either high or low doses can increase the chance of resistance by not properly treating the infection, so ensure that you ask your healthcare provider about the right usage of medication.
Poor-quality medicines can contribute to resistance. Globally the quality of medications tends to be weak and when low-standard drugs are given, they may not be as effective as they should be in thwarting bacterial infection, this increases the risk of spreading the infection.
Good quality infection care, prevention and control can remarkably reduce antibiotic resistance. However, hospitals with better sterile practices are consistent contributors to the concern of antibiotic resistance, because patients hospitalized with any infectious ailments can transmit those pathogens to other patients, which eventually increases the probability of resistance development.
Effective Ways To Combat Antibiotic Resistance
- Wash your hands with soap and water at regular intervals or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers
- Get vaccinated
- Stay home when you are unwell
- When coughing or sneezing cover with an elbow instead of your hand to avert spreading of pathogens. If you cough into your hand, wash your hands immediately
- Don’t take antibiotics if you don’t require them. Always consult with your physician about antibiotic resistance before taking any antibiotics