Preventing antimicrobial resistance
Published on 2021-11-19 10:48:01

Preventing antimicrobial resistance

Health day

Amsterdam, 19 November 2021 - This week marks the beginning of the annual World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW), aiming to create awareness around the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). AMR occurs when bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites that cause disease stop responding to existing medicines.

AMR is a growing problem, which already poses a threat worldwide and eventually will impact all our lives. An estimated 750,000 people die each year from drug-resistant infections. The lack of appropriate access to medicines gives pathogens an opportunity to infect more people and develop resistance. A main cause is overuse and improper use of antimicrobials (for humans as well as livestock), causing drug resistance. It can make infections more difficult to treat, such as tuberculosis (TB). This leads to drug-resistant TB, for which limited treatments are available, and posing greater risk of death.

Access to quality-assured medicines and education around proper use of medicines is essential to prevent AMR. WHO recommends spreading awareness about correct use, such as:

  • Taking antimicrobial medicines only when prescribed
  • Following treatment directions on dosage and duration, even when you feel better
  • Avoiding the sharing or use of leftover antimicrobials

IDA Foundation supports this through stringent quality assurance of essential antimicrobials, which prevents substandard or falsified medicines from entering the market, supporting access to essential medicines, as well as supporting key messaging around proper use of medicines.