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article imageWHO outlines antimicrobial strategy (update)

By Tim Sandle     Jun 18, 2019 in Health
At an audio briefing held on June 18, 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced key goals to prevent antimicrobial resistance in countries around the world using a new tool, named AWaRe.
The WHO briefing discussed which countries are tracking antibiotic usage and limiting the use of the antibiotics most at risk of resistance. The new goals for AWaRe follow on a report on the continued global threat of antimicrobial resistant organisms. The new tool and country goals are also to be featured at the Second Ministerial Conference on antimicrobial resistance, which is set to take place in the Netherlands on June 19-20.
In order to accelerate action against antimicrobial resistance, WHO will call on all United Nations member countries to adopt AWaRe (the 'adopt aware' campaign). This is a WHO tool to help contain antimicrobial resistance, improve antibiotic treatment and preserve the most precious antibiotics. The initiative follows on from the Sixty-eight World Health Assembly which endorsed a global action plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance.
The AWaRe tool classifies antibiotics into three groups – Access, Watch and Reserve – and specifies which antibiotics to use for the most common and serious infections, which ones should be available at all times in the healthcare system, plus those that must be used sparingly or preserved and used only as a last resort.
Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is the ability of microorganisms to resist antimicrobial treatments, especially antibiotics. The issue of antimicrobial resistance is a major health concern, and it is estimated that some 700,000 people die each year due to drug-resistant diseases. This includes 230,000 people who die from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.
The global audio streaming event was delivered by Mariângela Simão, Assistant Director General for Access to Medicines, WH) and Hanan Balkhy, Assistant Director General for Antimicrobial Resistance, WHO. Central to the strategy is raising awareness of antimicrobial resistance and seeking behavioural change through public communication programs.
According to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO's director-general: "Antimicrobial resistance is one of the most urgent health risks of our time and threatens to undo a century of medical progress. All countries must strike a balance between ensuring access to life-saving antibiotics and slowing drug resistance by reserving the use of some antibiotics for the hardest-to-treat infections. I urge countries to adopt AWaRe, which is a valuable and practical tool for doing just that."
The objective of the new global campaign to increase the proportion of global consumption of antibiotics in the Access group to at least 60 per cent, and to reduce use of the antibiotics most at risk of resistance from the Watch and Reserve groups.
More about World health organization, global health, Health, antimicrobials
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