World Antibiotic Awareness Week

News: World Antibiotic Awareness Week is being celebrated between 18 and 24 November 2019


  • World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) is celebrated every year in November. The idea of WAAW came out in 2015 at the Sixty-Eighth World Health Assembly.
  •  It aims to increase global awareness of antibiotic resistance and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policymakers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.
  • The focus of WAAW in 2019 is to aware people about the prevention of infections by simple methods such as hand-washing, vaccination, and safe sex.

Additional Information:

Antimicrobial resistance:

  •  It is the ability of a microorganism like bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites to stop an antimicrobial such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals and antimalarial from working against it. The term antibiotic resistance specifically covers resistance to antibiotics.
  • As a result, the medicines become ineffective and infections persist in the body, increasing the risk of spread to others.

Indian Government Initiatives to Combat AMR:

1.       Chennai Declaration: Signed in 2013, it called for urgent initiatives to formulate an effective national policy to control the rising antimicrobial resistance. It also proposed a ban on over-the-counter sale of antibiotics.

2.       National Programme on Containment of Antimicrobial Resistance: To meet the obligations of the declaration, the National Programme on Containment of Antimicrobial Resistance was launched under the 12th Five-year Plan (2012-2017). The main objectives were:

  • To establish a laboratory-based surveillance system by strengthening laboratories for AMR in the country
  • To generate awareness among healthcare providers and in the community regarding the rational use of antibiotics.
  • To strengthen infection control guidelines and practices and promote rational use of antibiotics.

3.       National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (Delhi Declaration) – It calls for coordinated efforts by government agencies involving health, education, environment, and livestock to change prescription practices and consumer behavior and to scale up infection control and antimicrobial surveillance.

4.       Red Line Campaign on Antibiotics 2016: The campaign was launched to:

  •  Raising awareness about how to identify a drug that should be dispensed only with a prescription from a licensed doctor
  •  Limiting the practice of self-medication

5.       State-level Initiatives: Kerala became the first state to adopt a comprehensive policy on AMR in 2016. Madhya Pradesh has also come up with an action plan on AMR.

Global Efforts:

1.       Global Action Plan on AMR:

In May 2015, World Health Assembly of WHO adopted a global action plan on antimicrobial resistance, which outlines five objectives:

  • to improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance through effective communication, education, and training;
  •   to strengthen the knowledge and evidence base through surveillance and research;
  • to reduce the incidence of infection through effective sanitation, hygiene and infection prevention measures;
  • to optimize the use of antimicrobial medicines in human and animal health;
  • to develop the economic case for sustainable investment that takes account of the needs of all countries and
  •  to increase investment in new medicines, diagnostic tools, vaccines and other interventions.

2.       AWaRe tool

  • It has been launched by WHO in 2019. It classifies antibiotics into three groups – Access, Watch and Reserve.
  • It specifies which antibiotics to use for the most common and serious infections (Access), which ones should be available at all times in the healthcare system (Reserve), and those that must be used only as a last resort (Watch).