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WHO uncovers big national variations in antibiotics consumption

14 November 2018
WHO uncovers big national variations in antibiotics consumption

This year, the WHO European Region will mark the 4th annual World Antibiotic Awareness Week on 12-18 November, by committing to closer collaboration across sectors to protect human, animal and environment health, in the spirit of One Health.

"Antibiotics are powerful tools for fighting disease, but if used inappropriately in people, animals or other applications, it can set the stage for antibiotic resistance", said National Pork Board's Heather Fowler, DVM, Pork Checkoff's director of producer and public health.

With very few new antibiotics having been developed in recent years, health agencies say their responsible use is absolutely critical to people's health. MPI must be satisfied that all antibiotics approved for use in animals are appropriate to the animal before it is registered as a veterinary medicine.

Antibiotics can end up in soil, water and the environment at large, giving microbes further opportunity to build up resistance FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, Kundhavi Kadiresan, pointed out.

Antibiotics are used to prevent and treat bacterial infections - not viral infections. occurs when bacteria change in response to the use of antibiotics, becoming resistant to them.

He said antibiotics ought to be used advisedly, adding that "all hospitals and community health centres should strive to control the spread of infections by making the best hygiene and sanitation measures available".

It's not people that become antibiotic resistant, bacteria do, and these resistant "superbugs" establish themselves after the "weaker" bacteria are cleared out by antibiotics. "Without effective antibiotics and other antimicrobials, we will lose our ability to treat common infections like pneumonia", says Dr Suzanne Hill, Director of the Department of Essential Medicines and Health Products at WHO. Hold your doctor accountable and see that antibiotics are only being prescribed when truly needed and consider the use of antibiotics when choosing where your food dollars go.

"Overuse and misuse of antibiotics are the leading causes of antimicrobial resistance".

"The over-consumption and under-consumption of antibiotics are the major causes of antimicrobial resistance", pointed out Suzanne Hill, head of the unit of essential medicines at World Health Organization, in a press release. Promoting positive behavioural change remains one of the priorities in mitigating the spread of AMR.

"Reserve" group antibiotics, which should only be used as last-resort antibiotics for treatment of specific infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria, account for less than 2% of total antibiotic consumption in most high-income countries and were not reported by most low- and middle-income countries.

The publication was timed to coincide with World Antibiotic Awareness Week. Besides focusing on awareness about the consequences of irrational use of antibiotics, greater investment is required on promotion of health and public health infrastructure to minimise the need for antibiotics use. Some 83% of those surveyed believe pharmaceutical companies should develop more antibiotics. Though antibiotic resistance is global, it is more severe in India.

"Governments, funding agencies and the private sector need to invest and work together to secure safe, effective medicines for generations to come".