Tool to reduce antimicrobial resistance

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The World Health Organization has launched a global campaign to urge governments to adopt a tool to reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance.

The tool is called AWaRe and was developed by the WHO Essential Medicines List. It categorises antibiotics into three groups ─ access, watch and reserve ─ and specifies the antibiotics that should be used for the most common and serious infections, those that should be available at all times in the healthcare system, and those that should be used sparingly or as a last resort.

“Antimicrobial resistance is one of the most urgent health risks of our time and threatens to undo a century of medical progress,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “All countries must strike a balance between ensuring access to life-saving antibiotics and slowing drug resistance by reserving the use of some antibiotics for the hardest-to-treat infections. I urge countries to adopt AWaRe, which is a valuable and practical tool for doing just that.”

The idea is that AWaRe makes it easier for policymakers, prescribers and health workers to select the right antibiotic at the right time and protect endangered antibiotics.