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WAAW - Day One: The growing concern of Antimicrobial Resistance

Posted on the 20th November 2023

AMR website pics 1

Doctor Sarah Hobson, a Senior Regulatory Executive at G&L, discusses the escalating concern surrounding Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and underscores the significance of the upcoming week in deepening our understanding of this issue and exploring strategies to curb its escalating global prominence.

What is AMR?

AMR arises when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites evolve and become unresponsive to the medications typically used to treat the infections they cause.

Consequently, drug-resistant microorganisms can propagate within and between animal, human, and plant populations, as well as disseminating throughout the environment.

Because of resistance, antibiotics and other antimicrobial drugs lose their effectiveness, making infections increasingly challenging or even impossible to treat.

This elevates the risk of disease transmission, severe illness, and mortality.

In fact, AMR is currently one of the top 10 global public health threats as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).

As highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, managing viral infections is not only a significant challenge for healthcare professionals but can also negatively impact antibiotic usage.

There is an urgent need to curtail inappropriate antibiotic usage.

Read more about the facts that bust some common misconceptions about antibiotic use.

Taking action

A global action plan to address the burgeoning problem of antimicrobial drug resistance was endorsed during the Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly in May 2015.

One of its primary objectives is to enhance awareness and comprehension of AMR through effective communication, education, and training.

Each year, one week in November is dedicated to raising awareness and encouraging a review of antimicrobial usage in human medicine, animal welfare, and environmental processes.

This initiative was initially known as World Antimicrobial Awareness Week.

In 2023, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) announced the rebranding of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week as World AMR Awareness Week (WAAW).

Embracing the One Health approach

Combating AMR necessitates a holistic, multi-sectoral approach known as the One Health approach.

WAAW is a worldwide campaign aimed at enhancing awareness and comprehension of AMR while promoting best practices among the public, One Health stakeholders, and policymakers.

All these groups play pivotal roles in curtailing the further emergence and spread of AMR.

This year's campaign

The theme of this year's campaign is "Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together".

This theme underscores the overarching message that antimicrobials are a valuable resource that must be conserved, and the fight against AMR is a global endeavour that involves us all.

AMR knows no borders, prompting the WHO to call upon all countries in the European Region to participate in WAAW and advocate for judicious antibiotic use.

G&L encourages everyone to actively participate in WAAW, offering a series of thought-provoking articles and practical tips planned for the week ahead. Together, we can heighten awareness of global AMR and encourage responsible antimicrobial use to prevent its further emergence and spread.

A comprehensive guide to AMR Week can be found here.

Dr. Hobson holds a PhD in Clinical Microbiology, and her extensive research focuses on the presence of antimicrobial-resistant strains of E. coli and other bacterial pathogens among the animal populations of Northern Ireland.

Her study also explores the presence of genes encoding pathogenicity and examines the link between resistance/virulence and the subsequent transmission of such strains to the human population.

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