World Antimicrobial Awareness Week at MKUH

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines, making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death. As a result of drug resistance, antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines become ineffective and infections become increasingly difficult or impossible to treat. Researchers estimated that AMR in bacteria caused an estimated 1.27 million deaths in 2019*.

A global action plan to tackle the growing problem of resistance to antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines was endorsed at the sixty-eighth World Health Assembly in May 2015. One of the key objectives of the plan is to improve awareness and understanding of AMR through effective communication, education and training.

Taking place November 18 – 24, World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) is a global campaign that is celebrated annually to improve awareness and understanding of AMR and encourage best practices among the public, stakeholders and policymakers, who all play a critical role in reducing the further emergence and spread of AMR.

This year, the theme of WAAW is “Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together” and all sectors are called on to encourage the prudent use of antimicrobials and to strengthen preventive measures addressing AMR, working together collaboratively.

As a Trust, we work consistently to reduce the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics. Since 2020, the yearly use of all antibiotics has been reduced by 1000 DDDs / Total Admissions (inc. Day Cases). In the case of broad-spectrum antibiotics, the national aim is to reduce yearly use by 4.5% in comparison to 2018 – a target we are meeting, although work needs to be done to ensure this is maintained over the coming winter months.

For patients, this means ensuring you complete your course of antibiotics, practicing good hand hygiene, not using antibiotics for colds or flu, disposing of antibiotics at the community pharmacy rather than in the bin or flushing them away, and not sharing antibiotics with other people or family members.

For this year’s WAAW, the pharmacy department at MKUH is leading a week-long campaign to raise awareness with both our internal and external stakeholders. The activities kick off on the morning of Friday 18 November as the team undertake an Antimicrobial Stewardship ward round, followed by a stand in the main entrance hosted by foundation pharmacists and technicians.

The team will be out and about visiting wards and departments throughout the week with resources, quizzes and more! Please do speak with the team to find out more about antimicrobial resistance and how we can all play our part.