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Understand  –  What can I do?

As a health professional

Participation and commitment of health care management and personnel on both the human and animal side is crucial in the work to control and limit the antibiotic resistance problem.

Below you find a brief overview of how one can work with antibiotic resistance related issues in health care settings, with links to other relevant sections in the toolbox.

Overview diagram of the information described in the text.
Figure 1. Schematic overview of some of the things you can do as a health care professional to help limit the antibiotic resistance problem.

Create a plan

It is often useful to create a plan for the work ahead, that includes strategies on how to engage and ensure support from policy makers. Decide where to start and what components that are of most importance in your setting. In many countries there are also governmental guidelines and recommendations to consider.

Measure the situation

Action and investment on the problem of antibiotic resistance should be supported by evidence of benefit and cost-effectiveness. A first step is therefore often to determine what the situation is in your facility. This will allow future decisions on where to focus efforts for best effect.


Start to monitor antibiotic resistance or antibiotic use at your health facility. Review existing data, collect new data and share results with colleagues and other collaborators. Initiate or expand ongoing surveillance strategies.

For more information, see:

Prevent infection

The goal of infection prevention is to reduce the occurrence of all types of infections, thereby reducing the need for antibiotics, and limit the spread of microorganisms including resistant bacteria.


Work to improve infection prevention and control at your health facility. Practice good hygiene, update and enforce infection prevention and control guidelines and educate colleagues. Initiatives can range from smaller interventions to large formal infection prevention and control programs. It is crucial that everyone that works at the facility is properly informed antibiotic resistance and the importance of proper hygiene procedures, from doctors to cleaning staff.

Another important strategy is to engage and educate the community about infection prevention. One example is to organize information campaigns to motivate more people to vaccinate themselves and their children.

For more information, see:

Promote rational use of antibiotics

All antibiotic use promote the development of resistance in bacteria. The goal of rational antibiotic use is not always to reduce use, but to ensure that the use is appropriate.


Promote rational use of antibiotics in your facility. Introduce and follow antibiotic use guidelines and educate colleagues about the problem and procedures. Initiatives can range from small scale interventions to large formal rational use programs.

It is also important to engage and educate the community about rational use of antibiotics. One example of how to do this is to provide unbiased information about when and why antibiotics should be used, and potential alternative treatments.

For more information, see:

Selected Resources

Resource Description
How to tell policymakers about scientific uncertainty Article that gives an overview about how to get your message across to the policy makers, and “uncertainty” of the scientific evidence.
Videos in clinical medicine. Hand hygiene Video that demonstrates when to use hand hygiene, the techniques and equipment, including the appropriate use of gloves. By the New England Journal of Medicine (14 min).
CIDRAP’s Daily Headlines Newsletter subscription. Stay up to date with this newsletter, giving daily global updates on infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance. By the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.

More from "What can I do?"

Nath C. How to tell policymakers about scientific uncertainty [Internet]. SciDev.Net. 2012 [cited 2015 Nov 30]. Available from:
Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy - CIDRAP. Subscribe to e-mail updates [Internet]. CIDRAP. [cited 2020 Mar 18]. Available from:
Longtin Y, Sax H, Allegranzi B, Schneider F, Pittet D. Videos in clinical medicine. Hand hygiene. N Engl J Med. 2011 Mar 31;364(13):e24.