WHO calls for responsible antibiotic use as world marks Antimicrobial Week
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for urgent measures to prevent the misuse and overuse of antibiotics. In his address to mark the Antimicrobial Awareness week, WHO Director General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus noted the need for a global action plan to tackle the growing problem of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and other antimicrobial medicines. Tedros urged countries to strengthen surveillance systems and improve awareness of AntiMicrobials through effective communication, education and training to promote prudent use of antibiotics. "Antimicrobials are the backbone of modern medicines but their misuse and overuse in humans, animals and plants is driving the emergence and spread of resistance. This means infections we could once treat may instead lead to severe illness or death," Tedros said "Responding to the threat of AMR is not just a problem for those of us who work in human health, it requires cooperation across sectors with a one-held approach that addresses the intimate link between the health of humans, animals and our environment," he added WHO indicates that AMR cause an estimated 5 million death globally as a result of drug resistance whereby antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines become ineffective and infections become increasingly difficult or impossible to treat. However, Dr Tedros recommends the strengthening of infection control by health facilities, use of safer food and agricultural production techniques and ensuring access to clean water, sanitation, hygiene and vaccines to evert the crisis of AMR. "AMR is everyone's business. We can all start by protecting the medicine before it protects us," Tedros urged The Ministry of Health highlights buying and using antibiotics over the counter without a prescription from a doctor and use of antibiotics to treat infections not caused by bacteria as some of the leading ways in which antibiotics are misused. World Antimicrobial Awareness Week is a global campaign that is celebrated annually to improve awareness and understanding of AMR and encourage best practices among the public, Health stakeholders and policymakers. This year's theme is 'Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together.'