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Antimicrobials: handle with care

  • General
Friday, 28 Feb 2020

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week starts today. Held globally each year to raise awareness of antimicrobial resistance and promote the responsible use of antimicrobials, 2020’s theme of *United to preserve antimicrobials* is, says our Deputy Director of Pharmacy Gavin Flett, aimed at engaging stakeholders from all sectors in a One Health approach to antimicrobial resistance.

PHOTO: Gavin and SWH Pharmacy colleague, pharmacist Priya Purushothaman, are actively involved with our SWH Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) work. AMS is the term used to describe activities, strategies and coordinated interventions designed to optimise antimicrobial use. AMS is used by hospitals and health organisations to promote quality use of antimicrobials, including using antimicrobials only when needed (avoiding using where there's no evidence of benefit); selecting antimicrobials wisely (using narrow spectrum therapy where possible, keeping broader-spectrums agents in reserve), and using safe and effective doses (using correct doses and limiting duration to what is needed according to evidence). Key benefits of effective AMS programs include improved patient care, more appropriate use of antimicrobials and reduced risk of adverse consequences associated with antimicrobials, including the development of antimicrobial resistance.

Antimicrobial resistance has been identified as one of the greatest threats to human health today. The prevalence of multidrug-resistant bacterial pathogens is rising worldwide. Patients with infections due to resistant bacteria experience delayed recovery and treatment failure and are more likely to die than patients with infections from non-resistant bacteria,’ Gavin explains.

Antimicrobials underpin modern healthcare and cannot be taken for granted. We need to work together to ensure they’re used appropriately across all sectors. It’s time to take antibiotic resistance seriously. We all have a part to play in helping to preserve the power of antibiotics. And there are simple steps we can all take to prevent antibiotic resistance. To learn more check out these websites:

https://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/…/antimicrobial-awarene…
https://www.nps.org.au/antibiotic-awareness
https://www.who.int/camp…/world-antimicrobial-awareness-week

The overarching slogan for this year’s World Antimicrobial Awareness Week is *Antimicrobials: Handle with care*. World Antimicrobial Awareness Week runs until November 24.

Page last updated: 15 December 2020

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