World Antimicrobial Awareness Week under the spotlight

The National Institute for Communicable (NICD), commemorates World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) between 18-25 November. Led by the World Health Organization (WHO), the theme of WAAW 2022 is “Preventing antimicrobial resistance together”, a call to raise awareness of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), a condition that is cross-sectoral and poses serious public health concerns.

The overall slogan for raising awareness on AMR during WAAW remains the same as in previous years – Antimicrobials: Handle with care.

The following actions according to the WHO statement can help reduce the need for antimicrobials and minimise the emergence of AMR:

  • Strengthen infection prevention and control in health facilities, farms and food industry premises
  • Ensure access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene, and vaccines
  • Implement best practices in food and agricultural production and
  • Minimise pollution and ensure proper waste and sanitation management

Launched by the WHO in 2015, WAAW evolved from ‘antibiotics’ to ‘antimicrobials’ to include all antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals and anti-parasitic medicines that play a key role in treating infections caused by microorganisms. AMR occurs in microorganisms that cause diseases in humans and animals and in many cases with no effective treatment options This is especially alarming as common human diseases now have the ability to develop into severe, if not fatal, illnesses.

The NICD’s Centre for Healthcare-Associated Infections, Antimicrobial Resistance and Mycoses (CHARM) provides and supports the WHO’s Global Antimicrobial Resistance System (GLASS) by collecting antibiotic susceptibility testing data from both the public and private sectors. The data collected from the resistance rates highlights key indicators that contribute to the efforts of the National Department of Health (NDoH) in developing effective AMR policies.

In 2014 the NDoH launched an Implementation Plan for the AMR strategy framework and outlined five strategic objectives the ministry would like to achieve before the end of 2024. The objectives are; (1) govern under one health structure, (2) strengthen surveillance for AMR and usage, (3) prevent infections by infection prevention, control measures and vaccination, (4) apply antimicrobial stewardship principles and (5) enhance strategic enablers for legislative and policy reform for health systems strengthening, education, workforce development, research and communication.

AMR is fast-tracked by the overuse of medications, and those with limited access to clean water and sanitation are considered high risk. Communities, however, have the power to fight AMR through good hygiene and staying up to date with vaccinations. Care also needs to be taken when preparing food to prevent food-borne infections. Knowledge remains key and those seeking medical attention have the option to explore alternative treatments. Those who have been administered antibiotics should be aware of discarding them once a course has been completed and not to share leftover antibiotics.

In addition, to limit the emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections, the WAAW campaign seeks to promote best practice amongst healthcare professionals, policymakers and the public at large.

The National Department of Health invites you to attend webinars to commemorate World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2022 

Day 2: Monday, November 21, 1pm–2pm
Diagnostic Stewardship

Day 3: Tuesday, November 22, 1pm-2pm
New Frontiers in surveillance of AMR and AMU

Day 4: Wednesday, November 23, 1pm-2pm
Infection Prevention and Control and Biosecurity

Day 5: Thursday, November 24, 1pm-2pm
Promotion of Appropriate Use of Antimicrobials

Day 6: Friday, November 25, 1pm-2.30pm
Raising Public Awareness of AMR: How do we get the right message across?

Click here to register

Connect with us and stay up to date with WAAW information the NICD will share on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram from 18 – 25 November

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