World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) 2016: Encouraging health care workers and the public to become “Antibiotic Guardians”


Antibiotic resistance presents one of the biggest threats to global health and development today – and the threat is growing. This year, the world will mark the second annual World Antibiotic Awareness Week from 14 to 20 November, with a particular focus on health care workers.

Hospital infections are complicated by antibiotic resistant bacteria

A WHO Report on the Burden of Endemic Health Care-Associated Infection Worldwide states that, in Europe, infections contracted in health facilities cause 16 million extra-days of hospital stay, 37 000 attributable deaths and contribute to an additional 110 000 deaths every year. Annual financial losses are estimated at approximately € 7 billion, including direct costs only.

Antibiotic resistance is accelerated by the misuse and overuse of antibiotics, as well as poor infection prevention and control. Steps can be taken at all levels of society to reduce the impact and limit the spread of resistance, but health care workers have a particularly crucial role to play in defending the power of antibiotics. 

Five key actions for health professionals

Health professionals – such as general practitioners, nurses, hospital prescribers, dentists, pharmacists, etc. – in the European Region can help prevent and control the spread of antibiotic resistance by following five key recommendations from WHO:

1.     Prevent infections by using safe hygiene practices, to ensure that your hands, instruments and environment are clean;

2.     If you think a patient might need antibiotics, where possible, test to confirm and find out which one;

3.     Only prescribe antibiotics when they are truly needed, according to current guidelines;

4.     Prescribe and dispense the right antibiotic at the right dose for the right duration; and

5.     Keep your patients’ vaccinations up to date.

Additionally, health workers should report antibiotic-resistant infections to surveillance teams. They should talk with their patients about how to take antibiotics correctly and the dangers of misuse. It can also help to educate patients about how to prevent infections, for example, through vaccination, hand washing, safer sex, and covering the nose and mouth when sneezing.

All levels of society have a part to play

In addition to health workers, policy makers and members of the public must take a stand against the growing threat of antibiotic resistance. To help encourage everyone to take action, WHO/Europe and Public Health England (PHE) have launched an expanded version of the “Antibiotic Guardian”, a web-based campaign initiated by PHE in 2014. Since that time, more than 34 000 people have pledged their support and become “Antibiotic Guardians”.

During World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2016, WHO/Europe encourages all people of the European Region to visit the Antibiotic Guardian website and pledge to make better use of antibiotics and help save these vital medicines from becoming obsolete. A new Russian version of the site is now available and WHO/Europe invites Russian-speaking countries, in particular, to take part in the initiative.

World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2016 in Kyrgyzstan

In the European Region, WAAW continues and broadens the scope of the European Antibiotic Awareness Day, a European initiative coordinated by the European Centre for Prevention and Control (ECDC) that WHO/Europe extended to non-European Union countries since 2012.

In Kyrgyzstan this year WHO jointly with MoH is implementing the activities to raise awareness about AMR, and number of poster have been printed out and will be distributed among the health facilities. 2 Round Tables in Osh and Bishkek this week among the health professionals, MHIF, phytosanitarian agency, laboratories, Academia. It is important to strengthen the surveillance on infections and control use of antibiotics. Additionally. WHO posted the posters and infographs on UN website and organized quiz among the population to know their opinion.

New resistance data forthcoming

Antibiotic resistance is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world, including throughout Europe. New data on antimicrobial resistance in European countries will be released on 18 November in the second annual report of the Central Asian and Eastern European Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance network (CAESAR), providing valuable insight into the scope of the problem and key priorities for future efforts to control it.

For more details, please, contact Oskonbek Moldokulov, NPO, in WHO Country Office (