World Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Week (WAAW) – 18 to 24 November

18 Nov 2023
NHS South East London

World Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Week (WAAW), 18 to 2​4 November, aims to encourage best practices for using antimicrobials responsibly worldwide, to prevent and control the spread of antimicrobial resistance.

Today’s healthcare professionals are challenged with balancing appropriate antibiotic prescribing with reducing unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics. Unlike other medications, antibiotic resistance from the overuse of antibiotics threatens the usefulness of these important group of medications.

Since the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the WAAW campaign in 2015, there has been ​increasing awareness that unnecessary use of antibiotics for viral infections, like colds and flu, taking antibiotics too often for inappropriate durations, or for the wrong reasons can cause bacteria to mutate so that antibiotics do not work against them. Certain bacteria are now resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics available.

Antibiotic resistance continues to be an increasing problem, so more needs to be done. Using data from South East London ICB, Medicines Optimisation Team, the impact of our pledge has seen the prescribing of broad-spectrum antibiotic use reduce by 9%. This is comparing the 12 months to July 2023 to the 12 months to July 2022.

Although broad spectrum antibiotic prescribing has reduced locally, there has in-turn been an increase in the volume of antibiotics prescribed by 13% over the same period. Therefore, this year’s campaign will reinforce the message to support healthcare professionals to support their patients. Overcoming the threat of antibiotic resistance requires a collaborative and inclusive approach between patients, the public, healthcare providers and policy makers across south east London.

Antibiotics are a precious resource. They have transformed medical practice over the last 90+ years. Infections that used to kill people are now treatable, so we must endeavour to protect this valuable resource to ensure they remain effective for future generations.

We have created an antibiotic guardian pledge video to highlight the ways in which we can curb antimicrobial resistance. Healthcare professionals and patient representatives from South East London make a pledge to help with the fight against antimicrobial resistance. Make your pledge to become an Antibiotic Guardian.