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World Antimicrobial Awareness week 2023

20 Nov 2023

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) is a global campaign held between 18-24 November every year to improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and encourage people to take measures to reduce the threat of AMR.

  • Antibiotics are an example of an antimicrobial which are used to fight against infections caused by a specific type of germ (bacteria).

AMR happens when germs (bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites) that cause infection (known as ‘microbes’) adapt to survive medicines that would normally kill them.

Antimicrobials have been overused and misused for years, rendering some of them ineffective. People, plants and animals are now dying from infections that were once treatable.

  • In 2019, it is estimated that AMR contributed to nearly 5 million deaths worldwide.
  • It can take 10-15 years and costs more than 1 billion USD to develop a new antibiotic. We need to be responsible with those we already have.
  • Unused antibiotics which are disposed of in sinks, toilets, bins or waste dumps can lead to AMR developing in the soil, plants and animals.

The following measures can help to reduce the need for antimicrobials, prevent drug-resistant infections developing, save lives and reduce healthcare costs:

  • safe treatment and disposal of waste and sewage
  • effective hygiene measures (including hand washing)
  • vaccinations
  • safe disposal of unused medicines at a local pharmacy

The theme for WAAW 2023 is ‘Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance together’.