World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) is an annual global campaign developed by the World Health Organisation to improve awareness and understanding of AMR and encourage best practices among the public, One Health stakeholders and policymakers, who all play a critical role in reducing the further emergence and spread of AMR. The 2022 theme of WAAW is “Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together“. The WHO calls on all sectors to encourage the prudent use of antimicrobials and to strengthen preventive measures addressing AMR, working together collaboratively through a One Health approach.
- AMR is a process where bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites develop resistance to antimicrobials (antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, antiparasitics).
- AMR can occur through people not completing a full course of antibiotics, and be spread through human contact.
- AMR can also occur in the environment (for example) through the presence of antibiotic compounds in wastewaters and surface waters, which increase the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance genes in bacterial communities (leading to AMR).
- AMR is impacting healthcare around the world. It is making infections harder to treat, resulting in routine procedures becoming more risky and harder to recover from.
- Researchers estimated that AMR in bacteria caused an estimated 1.27 million deaths in 2019.
- Without action, AMR could cause up to 10 million deaths a year by 2050.
For information on how pharmacists and healthcare practitioners can fight AMR – read the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s guide on antimicrobial resistance and stewardship.
And check out the OHBP’s Get Smart with Antibiotics video with Talking Medicines and the GetSmart Public Awareness Campaign to raise public awareness of AMR and actions you can take to reduce it.