It’s World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2019

Antibiotics

This week (18-24 November) is World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2019; the aim of which is to increase global awareness of antibiotic resistance and encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.

The overuse and misuse of antibiotics have encouraged the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance and a key way to better the situation is to improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance through effective communication, education and training. This is one of the key objectives of a global action plan to tackle antibiotic resistance that was endorsed that the 68th World Health Assembly in May 2015. This was the first year that World Antibiotic Awareness Week took place.

Seeking medical advice before and after travel is so important

The World Health Organization has called antibiotic resistance one of the biggest threats to human health today, and international travel is exacerbating the problem. This is because, with more and more people travelling overseas, there is increased contact with antibiotic-resistant infections that can then be brought back home and spread domestically.

This highlights one of the reasons why seeking medical advice before and after travel is so important. Travellers are advised to speak to their general practitioner at least six weeks before travelling in order to be vaccinated, if necessary, and allow enough time for the vaccination to take effect. In addition, something as simple as thorough handwashing can prevent infections from spreading, reducing the need for antibiotics, which in turn helps limit antibiotic resistance.

It is in everyone’s best interests ─ travellers, government representatives and healthcare workers alike ─ to do what they can to fight against the terrifying phenomenon of antimicrobial resistance, as without effective antibiotics, even minor surgery and routine operations could become high-risk procedures if serious infections can’t be treated. Hopefully, World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2019 will help further educate people on the steps they themselves can take to help tackle the threat of antimicrobial resistance.