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World Antimicrobial Awareness week 2023

20 November 2023

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) is a global campaign held between 18-24 November every year to improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and encourage best practices among the public.

AMR happens when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites (microbes) no longer respond to medicines. This makes treating common infections more difficult, which in turn increases the risk of diseases spreading, potentially causing severe illness and death.

Many factors have accelerated the threat of AMR worldwide, including overuse and misuse of medicines in humans, livestock and agriculture, as well as poor access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

  • In 2019, it is estimated that nearly 5 million deaths globally were associated with bacterial AMR, and 1.3 million of these deaths were directly caused by AMR in bacteria.
  • Sanitation (clean drinking water, and safe treatment and disposal of sewage) good hygiene measures (such as hand washing) and vaccination can reduce the need for antimicrobials and prevent drug-resistant infections developing, which saves lives and reduces healthcare costs.
  • It can take 10-15 years and costs more than 1 billion USD to develop a new antibiotic. We need to be responsible with those we already have.
  • Unused antibiotics which are disposed of in sinks, toilets, bins or waste dumps can lead to AMR developing in the soil, plants and animals.

The WAAW 2023 theme is ‘Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance together’.


Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection (ARHAI)

UK Health Security Agency: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) collection