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Antimicrobial Awareness Week

  • November 17, 2020

This week marks World Antibiotic Awareness Week (18th-24th November 2020).

Numerous bacterial infections and life-threatening diseases have plagued humans throughout history. In the past 70 years, antibiotics have saved and improved many countless lives. Hence antibiotics have been one of the established cornerstones of modern health systems. But it also brings a new set of challenges for the healthcare sector and the public in general. Due to overuse and at times due to misuse antibiotic resistance has become one of the biggest threats to global health today. Because it develops antibiotic resistance that means bacteria and fungi develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. That means the germs are not killed and continue to grow. One must make an informed decision by consulting a doctor, it plays a key role in the responsible use of antibiotics. And infections caused by antibiotic-resistant germs are difficult and sometimes impossible to treat.


Reasons for the world antibiotic resistance crisis include:

  • Patients not finishing their full course of antibiotics
  • Health workers or general practitioner over-prescribing antibiotics
  • Lack of hygiene and poor sanitation

In the United States alone, every year 23,000 people die from drug-resistant infections. Globally, that number is 700,000 people a year. As per research, it is estimated that by 2050, the number of deaths per year is going to climb to 10 million a year. That's a person every three seconds. A very major concern, everyone should act responsibly.

As per Director-General of WHO, Dr Margaret Chan(2014), "Antimicrobial resistance is not a future threat looming on the horizon. It is here, right now, and the consequences are devastating"

It is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world undermining many advances in health and medicine. The urgency of the situation is dramatically underlined in the World Health Organisation document Antimicrobial resistance: global report on surveillance 2014. It states: 'Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi.

How to prevent or control the spread of antibiotic resistance

Below are a few measures that can be adopted at an individual level to fight AMR:

  1. Avoid antibiotics when not required - always ask your doctor before starting the course.
  2. Always finish the entire course as prescribed by your doctor. Stopping the course in between encourages the bacteria to become drug-resistant.
  3. Improve immune system - it can guard you against diseases caused by bacteria.
  4. Take care of hygiene - ensure that you wash your hands before and after every meal.

We can preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics by being part of the solution. Just simple actions by us can help stop the spread of antibiotic-resistant infections. The need of the hour is to use it responsibly and only use antibiotics when prescribed by a certified health professional.