Each year in November there are initiatives taken around the world to raise awareness about antibiotic resistance.
Improving antibiotic use is one of the most important steps to address antibiotic resistance. The idea to raise awareness about the importance of prudent use of antibiotics in Europe was agreed on in 2007. After this decision, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) held meetings in 2007 and 2008 to form the initiative and develop materials and tools that would be available for countries to use. The initiative came to be called the European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD).
Campaigning in Europe
The first ever Europe-wide public campaign was set up with the aim to increase understanding about antibiotic resistance and to curb unnecessary antibiotic use in Europe. Since its inception, the number of campaigns during EAAD has grown and spread, with more and more countries joining the initiative. It has successfully functioned as a platform to support national campaigns around Europe where financial and political support have been limited. This by being a catalyst in the discussion of antibiotic resistance and by providing tools and materials for countries to use. Similar approaches then also developed in many other regions of the world.
Building further on these yearly initiatives, “World Antibiotic Awareness Week” (“World Antimicrobial Awareness Week” since 2020) was launched by the WHO in 2015 to raise awareness on a global level, to encourage action to halt the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria, and to encourage best practices among health workers, the public, food producers, farmers, veterinarians and policy makers. World Antibiotic Awareness Week is a part of the campaign “Antibiotics: Handle with care”, with different sub-themes every year. The overall campaign theme is reflecting the message that antibiotics are precious and non-renewable medicines that should be used only when necessary, only for treating bacterial infections and only after prescription by a certified health professional.
Many countries governments, civil society organizations and health care providers have participated in World Antibiotic Awareness Week organizing various activities and campaigns. As an example, Hong Kong developed a campaign calling on healthcare professionals as well as the general public to pledge to use antibiotics responsibly – The “I Pledge Campaign”. The idea of the campaign is that concerted efforts are needed to tackle the issue of antimicrobial resistance.
In Venezuela, Argentina and Ecuador, Child to Child Stories were launched during Awareness Week in 2016 by ReAct Latin America. The inclusion of children in projects have been an important aspect for ReAct latin America using children as active advocates, researchers and health promoters for other children, their families and their communities.
Every year a series of activities and initiatives are arranged for World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, globally and within ReAct. Visit the sites below for more information and inspiration!
|World Antimicrobial Awareness Week||Campaign site of the WHO that provides resources and campaign material to facilitate activities during world antimicrobial awareness week, such as infographics, factsheets and multi-media materials. Also gives opportunity to share activities online.|
|European antibiotic awareness day homepage||Campaign site. Get inspiration or directly use the campaign materials produced for the European Antibiotic Awareness Day. Also find links to materials and initiatives from specific countries.|