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World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2021

Connecting healthcare professionals globally to share experiences, spread awareness and stop resistance

18 November, 2021

The 18th – 25th November is World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a growing global health problem, with antibiotic resistant infections causing 700,000 global deaths per year. At current rates, this number is projected to grow to 10 million deaths per year by 2050. We can help prevent infections through measures such as vaccinations, improved hand hygiene, increased availability to clean water and antimicrobial stewardship in community and hospital settings.

In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) endorsed a Global Action Plan (GAP) to tackle the global issue of AMR. They urged member states to develop tailored, country specific national action plans with a ‘One Health approach’. Over 130 countries have developed their action plans to date but there is still a way to go to ensure all of these plans are implemented. We know that AMR disproportionately affects low or middle income countries where antibiotic consumption is still alarmingly high and the infrastructure to monitor infectious disease is not well developed.  

On a hospital and community level, initiatives such as simple hand washing and antimicrobial stewardship (promoting and monitoring safe and appropriate use of antimicrobials to preserve their future effectiveness) are paramount to reversing the tide of resistance. One unfortunate consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the acceleration of antimicrobial resistance as doctors over prescribe antibiotics to treat viral infections, as highlighted in a recent article from the Lancet entitled ‘Rising antimicrobial resistance: an evolving epidemic in a pandemic’.

At MedShr, we have developed Global Education Networks [medshr.it/e/globalhealth] to provide a platform for healthcare professionals to share their experiences of dealing with global-health problems such as AMR. What can you do if  there are no antibiotic guidelines in your region? This is where our community of over 1.8 million healthcare professionals can help – share a case on MedShr and discuss the best management of your patient. Through these discussions, we hope to build a network of HCPs, with a common goal to improve antimicrobial stewardship globally, impacting not just the patient in front of you but all patients around the world. 

We all have a duty to act now to raise awareness and take steps to minimise future impact. Join MedShr and our Global Health Networks to spread awareness and stop resistance. 

For free access to the Antimicrobial Resistance Education Network, doctors and other health professionals are encouraged to sign up using this link: medshr.it/amr.

MedShr also offers free, fast-tracked, registration for medical schools, hospitals and medical societies. Please contact globalhealth@medshr.net to make arrangements.

About MedShr

MedShr is a secure, professional app and network for medical professionals to connect and learn through case discussion. Over 2 million doctors and HCPs use MedShr to discover, discuss and share clinical cases and medical images. The platform’s innovative educational approach puts focus on the application of insights from the latest scientific publications in real-world scenarios. Developed by doctors, for doctors, its speaks to specialists in their language, fostering learning and discussion about the specifics of clinical decision-making and management.

 

Note to editors

Please contact globalhealth@medshr.net for more information.

About antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

“The thoughtless person playing with penicillin treatment is morally responsible for the death of the man who succumbs to infection with the penicillin-resistant organism.”

Sir Alexander Fleming (1945 Nobel Prize winner for the discovery of penicillin)

The following video from TedEd outlines how antibiotic resistance (AMR) has progressed over time and summarises some key ways to prevent new resistant microbes from developing. 

AMR - Where Are We Now?

In 2015, the World Health Organisation (WHO) endorsed a Global Action Plan (GAP) to tackle the global issue of AMR. They urged member states to develop tailored, country specific national action plans with a ‘One Health approach’. Over 130 countries have developed their action plans to date but there is still a way to go to ensure all of these plans are implemented [2]. 

We know that AMR disproportionately affects low or middle income countries where antibiotic consumption is still alarmingly high and the infrastructure to monitor infectious disease is not well developed. For example, India, one of the world’s largest consumers of antimicrobials saw the proportion of Staphylococcus aureus which are methicillin resistant nearly double between 2008 and 2014 while other countries with effective programmes for antimicrobial stewardship and/or infection prevention, saw the proportion of methicillin-resistant S. aureus decrease [3].

Investment in agriculture, safe drinking water and healthcare is vital to fight the growing problem of AMR and the Global Action Plan hopes to encourage world governments to step up to the challenge of AMR. On a hospital and community level, initiatives such as simple hand washing and antimicrobial stewardship in healthcare settings can significantly decrease infectious diseases and the use of antimicrobials [4]. These initiatives are paramount to reversing the tide of resistance. This has never been so critical as the COVID 19 pandemic has accelerated  antimicrobial resistance through over prescription of antibiotics to treat viral respiratory infections [5]. 

How is MedShr helping to tackle AMR?

At MedShr, we have developed Global Education Networks to provide a platform for healthcare professionals to share their experiences of tackling global health problems such as AMR on the ground. We are promoting good antimicrobial stewardship as an effective way to prevent antimicrobial resistance. 

Key Elements of Antimicrobial Stewardship Programmes [6]

  • Guideline driven antibiotic prescribing 
  • Antibiotic prescribing is re-assessed when sensitivity results are received
  • Patients are prescribed antibiotics for the appropriate length of time
  • Every member of the medical team is accountable 
  • Education on antimicrobial resistance and appropriate antibiotic prescribing is delivered to all medical staff 

If you have been involved in an antimicrobial stewardship programme, your experiences may help others on MedShr to implement their own. For those who are working in settings without antimicrobial stewardship programmes, the full text to core elements of hospital antimicrobial stewardship programmes can be found here.

We hope to empower clinicians to tackle issues such as antimicrobial resistance through sharing knowledge and expertise, as well delivering the most up to date clinical guidance and publications. If there are no antibiotic guidelines in your region, discussing a case on MedShr could help guide the best management of your patient whilst impacting other patients by protecting them from antimicrobial resistant organisms. 

Given the projection of 10 million deaths attributable to antimicrobial infection by 2050, we all have a duty to act now to raise awareness of the severity of the problem and to do something about it. Join MedShr and our Global Health Networks to spread awareness and stop resistance. 

References

[1] WHO New Room – Fact Sheet: Antimicrobial Resistance

[2] Chua, Alvin Qijia, et al. “An analysis of national action plans on antimicrobial resistance in Southeast Asia using a governance framework approach.” The Lancet Regional Health-Western Pacific 7 (2021): 100084

[3] Dixit, Avika, et al. “Antimicrobial resistance: progress in the decade since emergence of New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase in India.” Indian journal of community medicine: official publication of Indian Association of Preventive & Social Medicine 44.1 (2019): 4

[4] Pokharel, Sunil, Shristi Raut, and Bipin Adhikari. “Tackling antimicrobial resistance in low-income and middle-income countries.” (2019): e002104

[5] Manesh, Abi, and George M. Varghese. “Rising antimicrobial resistance: an evolving epidemic in a pandemic.” The Lancet Microbe 2.9 (2021): e419-e420

[6] Centre for Disease Control and PRevention (CDC) – The Core Elements of Hospital Antibiotic Stewardship Programs ANTIBIOTIC STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM ASSESSMENT TOOL

[ENDS]

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