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The planning process involves outlining the work that needs to be performed. The first step is to develop aims and objectives. The process also includes determining which strategies to use, what resources are needed, how to measure progress and calculating a budget.

Develop aims and objectives

Begin by developing aims and objectives (specific goals). Consider what you want to achieve, and what change can be made that will result in an improvement. When developing objectives it is important to make them SMART: Specific – Measurable – Achievable – Results oriented – Time limited

Model for improvement

The Model for Improvement developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement is a simple yet powerful tool that can guide the process of making changes and improvements. The model starts with asking key questions about the work to be undertaken and proceeds through a Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle to test ideas. Following this process will help to develop implementation strategies that are aligned with the overall aims and objectives. Key questions to consider are:

  • Who is the target audience?
  • What do you want to achieve?
  • What is already being done?
  • What are the barriers for change?
  • What change can you make that will result in improvement?
  • How will you know a change is an improvement?
  • What is the scale, length and budget for the project?
  • What is achievable and what resources are available?

Consider Campaign topics and strategies

Campaigns for awareness about antibiotics and resistance can be arranged on a number of topics, for example:

  • Infection prevention and control, including hygiene. How healthcare workers as well as the public can contribute to reducing disease spread in healthcare, community and through food. Improving hand hygiene is an essential part of this work and can be a good starting point for awareness campaigns.
  • Appropriate use of antibiotics. Information targeting both prescribers, dispensers and public about how and when antibiotics should be used, and the importance of disposing of left-over antibiotics properly instead of saving them for future self-medication. Learn more in UNDERSTAND: Why should I care?
  • Independent and unbiased information about antibiotics and resistance. Many prescribers, dispensers and consumers only receive information from drug manufacturers, which is often biased towards increasing use of the manufacturer’s products. This information needs to be balanced with information from reliable, independent sources.
  • Antibiotic use in food production. In many parts of the world, antibiotics are used as food additives or routinely in healthy animals. Consumer campaigns may be effective tools to apply pressure on producers and food business operators, including retailers. Also, many farmers are not even aware of that they give antibiotics to their animals.
  • One Health. Understanding the interconnectedness of human health with the world we are a part of. The ecological effects of antibiotic use are often difficult to see and understand.


Through education and empowerment of key individuals or groups, there is a possibility to reach a large target audience, both distributors and consumers that otherwise might not be accessible through the health care system. As antibiotics are essential medicines throughout all stages of life, all age groups should be targeted. However, educating young children can be useful to get the message across early and ensure it is repeated over time.

Creating and disseminating public service messages is another strategy to raise awareness about the antibiotic resistance issue. Public service messages can take many forms and be presented in many different ways and forums. It can for example be short video messages aired on the web or on TV, informational messages that are screened or handed out as brochures in the doctor’s waiting room, messages sent via mobile phone applications, radio announcements and poster advertisements.

Engaging mass media can be a good strategy for raising awareness as well as actively involving consumers, patients and organizations. Social media platforms are increasingly popular for disseminating targeted messages. Keep in mind that passive educational strategies, although easier to implement, may be less effective than active strategies, like face-to-face interaction.

For more specific campaign examples, tools, and delivery strategies, see Campaign materials.

For educational resources such as courses and training manuals, visit Education and training.

Choose a strategy

With many different options, it can be difficult to decide on which strategies will work best. Important questions to consider include:

  • Is there evidence to support the use of the strategy?
  • Are sufficient resources available?
  • Is approval required for implementation?
  • What type of training will be needed?
  • How will this strategy help overcome identified barriers?

Develop an implementation plan

A good implementation plan will cover the steps in the process, what actions are needed to be taken, by who and when, as well as what resources are needed and how to measure progress. The implementation plan can include:

  • Communication plan: How will the plans be communicated to those directly and indirectly involved with the process?
  • Risk assessment: What are the risks that might occur with implementation?
  • Monitoring and evaluation framework for monitoring progress of the program

Different organizations have different change management models or processes. Some of the recommended resources for creating change is found in the selected resources below, together with tools to help plan interventions.

Selected Resources

Resource Description
Reframing resistance – How to communicate about antimicrobial resistance effectively Report by Wellcome detailing how communication about antimicrobial resistance is received in various populations, based on extensive research. Proposes 5 key principles for how to communicate more effectively: Frame drug-resistant infections as undermining modern medicine; explain the fundamentals succinctly; emphasize that resistance affects everyone; focus on here and now and; encourage immediate action. See also the framing toolkit for concrete tips to help create messages (also available in Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese and German).
EAST: Four Simple Ways to Apply Behavioural Insights Guide that describes four principles for encouraging certain behaviors: Make it easy, attractive, social and timely. Gives practical examples on how to improve messaging and delivery.
7 Things to Consider When Communicating About Health Infographic from CDC. Lists important things to consider in health communication, including for example trustworthiness, relevance and what information that will inspire to action.
Improving Medicines Access and Use for Child Health -A Guide to Developing Interventions Manual for those developing interventions to improve access to and use of medicines, including antibiotics, for child illness. Target groups: CSOs/NGOs, health care professionals, and health policy makers.

  • Practical guidance on the steps of the process, including how to evaluate results
  • Options for interventions and tools to use
How to improve antibiotic awareness campaigns: findings of a WHO global survey Journal article surveying antibiotic awareness campaigns around the world mainly targeting the general public. Presents information from 60 campaigns and discusses barriers and suggested improvements.
How to improve the use of medicines by consumers (PDF 5,7MB) Manual from WHO that outlines communication methods to encourage the appropriate use of essential medicines among consumers. It includes guidance on communication through different channels, such as mass media or local news networks and outlines how communication campaigns can be planned, implemented and evaluated.
Community Toolbox Toolkits. The Community Toolbox aims to offer people engaged in local and community work a depository of tools and advice for building healthier communities. Toolkit 4 “Developing a Framework or Model of Change” helps to plan the pathway from activities to intended outcomes. Toolkit 5:  “Developing Strategic and Action Plan” aids development of a vision, mission, objectives, strategies, and action plan for the effort. Chapter 6, Section 1. “Developing a Plan for Communication” supports effective communication of results.
Community Toolbox: Overview of Strategic Planning or “VMOSA” (Vision, Mission, Objectives, Strategies, and Action Plans) Methodology. VMOSA is a practical planning process that can be used by any community organization or initiative. This comprehensive planning tool provides a blueprint for moving from dreams to actions to positive outcomes for your community. Section 1 of chapter 8 gives a general overview of the process and touches briefly on each of the individual parts.
The Breakthrough Series: IHI’s Collaborative Model for Achieving Breakthrough Improvement Methodology. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement works to improve quality and value of health care by supporting change. The Breakthrough Series is designed to help organizations create a structure where they can learn from each other and experts in areas where they want to improve. Also available in French and Spanish. Registration needed (free).

More from "Set up a campaign"

Chetley, A., Hardon, A., Hodgkin, C., Haaland, A. & Fresle, D. How to improve the use of medicines by consumers. Preprint at (2007).
Ross-Degnan, D., Vialle-Valentin, C. & Briggs, J. Improving Medicines Access and Use for Child Health—A Guide to Developing Interventions. Preprint at (2015).
EAST: Four Simple Ways to Apply Behavioural Insights. (2014).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Infographic: 7 Things to Consider When Communicating About Health | CDC.
Huttner, B. et al. How to improve antibiotic awareness campaigns: findings of a WHO global survey. BMJ Global Health 4, e001239 (2019).
Guardabassi, L. & Prescott, J. F. Antimicrobial Stewardship in Small Animal Veterinary Practice. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice 45, 361–376 (2015).
Work Group for Community Health and Development. Community Toolbox. Community Toolbox (2014).
Institute for Healthcare improvement - IHI. Science of Improvement: How to Improve. How to improve (2014).
Pulcini, C. & Gyssens, I. C. How to educate prescribers in antimicrobial stewardship practices. Virulence 4, 192–202 (2013).
IHI Innovation Series white paper. The Breakthrough Series: IHI’s Collaborative Model for Achieving Breakthrough Improvement. Preprint at (2003).