Boosting Awareness to Improve Antimicrobial Prescribing and Use

Posted On: November 17, 2021

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) 2021 kicks off on Wednesday, November 18 through November 24. Antimicrobials can save lives and are critical tools for treating infections, including those that can lead to sepsis. However, any time antimicrobials are used—in people, animals, or plants—they can cause side effects and contribute to antimicrobial resistance (AMR, also known as antibiotic resistance, or AR). TATFAR joins WAAW each year to boost awareness of improving antimicrobial prescribing and use in medical and veterinary communities.

AMR is still a public health threat during the COVID-19 pandemic. When antimicrobials are needed, the benefits usually outweigh the risks of side effects or AMR. However, too many antimicrobials are prescribed unnecessarily and misused, which threatens the usefulness of these important drugs. This is why it’s important that we all use antimicrobials ONLY when we need them. Antibiotics are not effective against COVID-19 because antibiotics do not treat infections caused by viruses.

This WAAW, spread the word about the importance of improving antimicrobial prescribing and use to:

  • Effectively treat infections
  • Protect patients from harms caused by unnecessary and inappropriate use
  • Combat AMR

Participate in the Global Twitter Storm on Wednesday, November 18, from 1011 a.m. EST using #AntibioticResistance and #WAAW. Share resources, answer questions, and join the global discussion on antibiotic use and AMR.

Read about TATFAR members activities and check their websites for more information to get involved.

Canadian Efforts

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) leads WAAW activities in Canada. PHAC collaborates with other Government of Canada departments and agencies to develop and promote these activities. Canada’s social media campaign will run from early November until the end of WAAW. The campaign will feature posts on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. The Government of Canada will also participate in the global Twitter Storm.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO) will issue a message and the Deputy CPHO will post a video to launch WAAW. Canada will host a webinar series aimed at raising the profile of AMR from a One Health perspective. This year, Canada will strive to bring attention to the role that oral health professionals play in AMR. Canada will also publish articles and blog posts about AMR for various audiences, including government and the public.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will share social media on the prudent use of antimicrobials as they relate to animal health and welfare, livestock feeds, and food safety. The CFIA will retweet and share other relevant content from our partners on the Agency’s social media platforms.

European Union Efforts

The European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) is an annual European public health initiative that takes place on November 18 to raise awareness about the public health threat of AMR and the importance of prudent antimicrobial use. The latest data confirms that across the European Union the number of patients infected by resistant bacteria is increasing and that AMR is a major threat to public health.

This year’s activities include:

  • Digital EAAD event, 18 November, 10 – 11:30 a.m. CET. The event will feature high-level keynote addresses and a scientific panel. Register for the free event, open to everyone and organized within the frame of European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s (ECDC) European Scientific Conference on Applied Infectious Disease Epidemiology (ESCAIDE) conference.
  • Digital EAAD campaign, including enhanced collaborations with social media influencers in each European Union (EU)/ European Economic Area (EEA) country. The influencers will produce content around prudent use of antibiotics and EAAD overall. The digital campaign also includes video statements from high-level speakers from the EU and experts from EU/EEA countries, and an interactive tool on the EAAD website featuring national resources on AMR, our partners, the influencers and ECDC’s resources.
  • Social media messaging on prudent use of antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance kicking off on the second week of October through the specific EAAD Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as ECDC’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. Hashtags include #EAAD, #AntibioticResistance and #KeepAntibioticsWorking. Keep an eye on Twitter, taking place on the afternoon of 18 November, using #EAAD.
  • Global Twitter storm, 18 November, 17:00 CET, in collaboration with the US CDC, WHO Europe, Public Health England, and other partner organisations using #WAAW and #AntibioticResistance.

Find EEAD online:

Norway Efforts

Norway will conduct webinars for the healthcare services and, after WAAW, launch a massive online course titled Exploring the landscape of antibiotic resistance in microbiomes. The 3-week course was prepared by academics and scientists from Norway and with invited partners from the United States, Brazil, and Spain. Participants will learn basic principles on why it’s important and how to analyze the landscape of antimicrobial resistance in community settings.

United States Efforts

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Global Affairs

In line with the WAAW 2021 theme—spread awareness, stop resistance—the United States continues to support AMR efforts domestically and globally. This includes keeping AMR on the agenda at the highest political levels, at multiple fora, and across sectors. In 2020, the United States government released the second National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, 2021-2025, and has been actively building capacity to meet the goals.

Since November 2020, the United States has served as the chair of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) AMR Action Package, which is focused on increasing resources to implement the National Action Plan and discusses the impact of COVID-19 on AMR efforts.

The United States also serves as co-chair of TATFAR to share best practices to strengthen domestic and global efforts for stewardship, surveillance, prevention, and research and development (R&D). Since 2018, the United States helped found and participated in the Global AMR R&D Hub as a Board Member. The United States was recently elected chair for the next two years to continue the incredible work and promote high-level coordination and alignment of efforts to leverage much needed investments for AMR R&D.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health

Studying AMR is a key part of NIAID’s mission to improve public health through basic and applied research. To mark WAAW 2021, NIAID plans to publish social media posts and a short Q&A video blog tied to WAAW on the NIAID Now blog. The blog is for scientists and the general public featuring an interview with a NIAID-supported researcher, which will highlight some of NIAID’s research activities in this important field.

The video will focus on the INSPIRE-ASP Trial (INtelligent Stewardship Prompts to Improve Real-time Empiric Antibiotic Selection for Patients) for Abdominal and Skin and Soft Tissue Infections. This study aims to improve antibiotic stewardship and physicians’ choice of antibiotics for hospitalized patients by reducing the unnecessary use of broad-spectrum antibiotics. NIAID’s primary focus is research and this blog highlights NIAID’s work and commitment to the fight against AMR.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week (USAAW) is an annual one-week observance that raises awareness about the importance of appropriate antimicrobials use and the threat of AMR. A major factor contributing to the emergence of AMR—one of the largest public health challenges of our time—is the use of antimicrobials, which are among the most frequently prescribed medicines in human and animal medicine.

CDC encourages partners to help spread the word about the importance of appropriate antimicrobial use and to get involved!

Everyone can help improve antimicrobial prescribing and use. We must all continue to take responsible action to protect antimicrobials so that they remain effective for people and animals—using the right antibiotic, at the right time, dose, and duration.