18–22 November 2019

World Antibiotic Awareness Week this year has the aim to spot the attention towards a “one health” approach.

Human, animal and environment are One health. Improper use of antimicrobials in both humans and animals is accelerating antimicrobial resistance (AMR) with potentially devastating consequences for health and future of the health systems.

Resistance of microbes to antibiotics knows no borders therefore advocating for a responsible and prudent use of antibiotics across sectors and countries to protect people’s health is a must.

AMR is constantly increasing since 2001 and will continue this trend if no effective action is put in place. Currently, close to one in five infections in the EU/EEA is due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In some countries, like Romania, about 40% of infections are due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The predictable scenario of growing AMR to the second-line and third-line antibiotics is an alarm not only for our health system financing sustainability knowing that there are no new options against resistant bacteria’s.  

The health burden of infections due to bacteria with AMR in the EU/EEA population is comparable to that of influenza, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS combined.[1] Each year, in the EU/EEA, more than 670 000 infections occur due to bacteria with AMR. 33 000 people die as a direct consequence of these infections. If nothing is put in place to take measures, up to 1.1 billion Euros are expected to be spent yearly between 2015 and 2050 due to AMR in EU/EEA.

The WHO Global Action Plan on AMR has set “best buys” policies:

• improving hygiene in health care facilities, including promotion of hand hygiene and better hospital hygiene (e.g. disinfection of surfaces and equipment in hospitals);

• stewardship programmes promoting more prudent use of antibiotics to end decades of over-prescription;

• use of rapid diagnostic tests in primary care to detect whether an infection is bacterial or viral;

• delayed prescriptions; and

• public awareness campaigns. SEEHN is dedicated to the high importance to raise awareness of antibiotical resistance and in partnership with its Regional Health Development Center based in Sofia Bulgaria is planning a series of actions in 2020.

[1] https://www.oecd.org/health/health-systems/AMR-Tackling-the-Burden-in-the-EU-OECD-ECDC-Briefing-Note-2019.pdf

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