Safety and Quality > Handle antibiotics with care: Antibiotic Awareness Week 2015

Handle antibiotics with care: Antibiotic Awareness Week 2015

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Antibiotic Awareness Week will take place from 16–22 November and is endorsed by the World Health Organization, acknowledging the global importance of this growing public health issue.

With the theme “Antibiotics: handle with care”, Antibiotic Awareness Week 2015 encourages all Australians to play a part in addressing the threat of antimicrobial resistance.

A global action plan to tackle the growing problem of antibiotic resistance was endorsed at the Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland in May 2015.

Australia’s First National Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2015-19 was released in June this year and hailed as an important step forward for the healthcare, agriculture and veterinary sectors and for the community, all of whom have a role in combating antimicrobial resistance.

One of the key objectives of the global action plan is to improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance through effective communication, education and training. The high rate of antibiotic use in Australia is an immediate concern that has also been highlighted in the Australian strategy.

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) and NPS MedicineWise are working with a range of organisations from around Australia to encourage the responsible use of antibiotics.

Individuals can take action today by not expecting antibiotics when they have viral infections, and only taking them when prescribed. Misuse of antibiotics may lead to their failure in the future. Without effective antibiotics, infections that were once easy to treat may become untreatable.

NPS MedicineWise and the Commission are encouraging health partners to join this campaign and help raise awareness of this issue.

A variety of resources will be made available to support local campaigns including factsheets, infographics, posters and multi-media materials.

If we all handle antibiotics with care, together we can make a difference and change the future.

Antibiotic Awareness Week 2015 is being coordinated in Australia in conjunction with the Australian Government Department of Health and Department of Agriculture, the Australian Veterinary Association, and state and territory health departments. Antibiotic Awareness Week is supported in Australia by a number of professional societies and groups.

For more information about Antibiotic Awareness Week 2015, visit www.nps.org.au/antibioticawarenessweek or www.safetyandquality.gov.au/aaw.

Campaign materials for the World Health Organization Western Pacific Region will be available at the end of September at http://www.wpro.who.int/topics/drug_resistance.