World Antibiotic Awareness Week raises our consciousness every November 18-24 about antibiotic resistance and how the medical community is educating us about the proper use of these disease-fighting drugs.  The World Health Organization (WHO) defines it this way: “Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in response to the use of these medicines. Bacteria, not humans or animals, become antibiotic-resistant.” 


The World Health Organization (WHO) projects a sense of urgency around the global issue of antibiotic resistance — and with good reason. If you develop an illness or an infection that can’t be treated in the traditional way with antibiotics, you can die. It’s as simple as that. 

WHO saw this as an increasing problem all over the world as poverty-driven conditions caused illnesses and infections that were increasingly resistant to antibiotics. In May, 2015, the World Health Assembly upgraded this antibiotic resistance to an international emergency. WHO described the problem as “New resistance mechanisms are emerging and spreading globally, threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases. A growing list of infections – such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, blood poisoning, gonorrhoea, and foodborne diseases – are becoming harder, and sometimes impossible, to treat as antibiotics become less effective.” 

WHO outlined five goals about global antibiotic resistance including: raising awareness,  increasing monitoring and research, reducing infections, making the best use of antimicrobial medications and committing to “sustainable investment.” 

Most importantly, these goals formed an antibiotics resistance framework that nations could use to prioritize medical experts and researchers in their countries and to allocate resources. In addition to preventing antibiotic resistance in humans, national action plans were to align with global efforts in creating antimicrobial medications for better animal health as well as use in agriculture.  Countries were to report back to the WHO health assemblies by 2017. Since then, there’s been increasing news coverage, both locally and internationally, on the widening problem of antibiotic resistance.

To learn more about what’s happening around the world and what you can do in your own backyard, log onto WHO’s website and download great materials  for events and discussions that you can join or start yourself around a global menace — resistance to antibiotics.


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