Improving Antibiotic Use: World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2019

Posted On: November 21, 2019

Antibiotics are powerful tools for treating life-threatening infections, like those that can lead to sepsis. However, anytime antibiotics are used, they can cause side effects and can lead to antibiotic resistance. During this annual one-week observance, keep in mind that improving antibiotic prescribing and use protects patients, effectively treats infections, and combats antibiotic resistance. Everyone has a role to play. As in previous years, TATFAR teamed up to raise awareness around TATFAR’s three key focus areas, specifically “to improve appropriate therapeutic use of antimicrobial drugs in medical and veterinary communities.” Read below to learn how TATFAR is addressing this challenging and complex issue.

Canadian Efforts

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) leads Canada’s international and domestic response on antibiotic resistance. PHAC brings together other federal departments, provinces, and territories, plus all sectors, to align efforts and identify collaborative opportunities to address AMR. Since 2010, PHAC has collaborated with national stakeholders on their efforts to increase awareness during Antibiotic Awareness Week (AAW).

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer released a Spotlight Report in June 2019, Handle with Care: Preserving Antibiotics Now and Into the Future. This report highlights the sociocultural drivers behind antibiotic prescribing practices and antibiotic use. PHAC’s materials for AAW will align with messaging in the report, focusing on behaviour change from both the prescriber and patient perspectives.

PHAC and other federal departments promoted awareness messaging and materials via social media during the week, including the Global Twitter Storm. Please follow these Government of Canada social media accounts for antibiotic resistance information:




European Union Efforts & European Antibiotic Awareness Day

The European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) is marked on November 18 and coordinated by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Every year, the EU Member States and European Economic Area (EEA) countries observe the day with awareness initiatives, events, and communication campaigns across Europe focused on antibiotic resistance and prudent use of antibiotics. This year marks the 12th European Antibiotic Awareness Day.

All updates on EAAD 2019 are available on their website.

  • Annual updates on antibiotic resistance and antibiotic consumption. ECDC released its annual update on antibiotic resistance and antibiotic consumption surveillance data from EU/EEA countries.
  • New report on the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of healthcare workers with respect to antibiotics, antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance across 30 EU/EEA countries. ECDC released a report with the results of the first multi-country and multi-professional study on the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of healthcare workers with respect to antibiotics, antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance across 30 EU/EEA countries. While several studies have assessed the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of the general public in EU Member States as well as of healthcare students and individual professional groups, there is a paucity of literature on this topic for the full breadth of healthcare workers. Understanding the barriers to prudent antibiotic use is vital to develop and deliver interventions that increase awareness and knowledge and ultimately change behaviour about antibiotic use. The survey findings support strategies for policy development, education and communication campaigns targeting healthcare workers and aiming to address prudent use of antibiotics and prevention and control of antibiotic resistance in the EU/EEA.
  • EU-level event. In cooperation with the European Commission, ECDC hosted an EU-level event in Stockholm, Sweden. It is a platform for governmental institutions, professional and patient organizations, country representatives, and media to come together and discuss the current situation regarding antibiotic resistance and the actions taken to address them by all stakeholders, both at EU/EEA and national levels. The event was live streamed on EAAD’s Facebook page. Participants tweeted live using #EAAD2019.
  • Social media 2019. Find all you need for your social media communication on our website, join the action, and spread the news! The online discussion can be tagged with a selection of hashtags: #EAAD, #EAAD2019, #EAADsurvey, #AMR, #AntibioticResistance, #AntiMicrobialResistance, #KeepAntibioticsWorking, #OneHealth, #Antibiotics, #SuperBugs. Like last year, we asked doctors, nurses, hospital managers, pharmacists, farmers, veterinarians, policymakers, professional and patient organisations, governmental institutions, and the general public to share a message via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, explaining what they are doing to ensure that these medicines remain effective using the hashtag #KeepAntibioticsWorking. Everyone is responsible for keeping antibiotics working! Find us online:
  • Tools and resources. For tools and resources, such as communication toolkits and patient stories, in all EU/EEA languages, visit EAAD’s website.

United States Efforts

U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week (USAAW) is an annual one-week observance to highlight the importance of using antibiotics appropriately to effectively treat infections, protect patients from harms caused by unnecessary and inappropriate use, and combat antibiotic resistance. CDC encouraged partners to help spread the word about the importance of appropriate antibiotic use. You can continue to spread the word and get involved!

The Global Twitter Storm was held on Monday, November 18. CDC encouraged everyone to start the Twitter Storm with the same Tweet: #AntibioticResistance is one of the most urgent global health threats. Everyone has a role to play in improving antibiotic use to help fight antibiotic resistance. #USAAW2019

CDC also co-hosted a free continuing education webinar titled Improving Antibiotic Stewardship in Critical Access Hospitals: Strategies and Success Stories. Leading experts discussed evidence-based strategies to improve antibiotic prescribing in rural hospitals and share stewardship success stories in critical access hospitals.

We encourage you to continue to share this information widely with your organization and partners to help raise awareness of the observance week. Thank you for your support and continued efforts to optimize antibiotic prescribing and use.