Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. 19 November 2020. Antimicrobial products are used to destroy or slow the spread of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites which can cause a wide range of illnesses. Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when these organisms change over time and no longer respond to medicines making infections harder to treat, increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.
AMR is an increasing threat to human health and sustainable development and has been identified by the World Health Organization as one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity.
Antimicrobial resistance can affect people at any point in life. Persons at greater risk are the immunocompromised and persons living with non-communicable diseases. This is one of the global threats that we as humans can help to minimize through the appropriate and responsible use of antimicrobials.
World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) aims to increase awareness of global antimicrobial resistance and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policy-makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections.
The week which runs from 18th-24th November 2020 has as its slogan "Antimicrobials: handle with care" applicable to all sectors, while the theme for the human health sector is “United to preserve antimicrobials".
The Caribbean Public Health Agency joins the global community to remind health professionals, patients, caregivers and health administrators about their role in preventing the emergence of resistant bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites.
To our health professionals and administrators, we urge you to monitor usage patterns, ensure that prescribing is rational and appropriate for the infection being treated, and provide clear instructions to patients and caregivers.
To patients and caregivers: we know it may be tempting to ‘save some for later’ or to share with a friend or family member, but this is one group of medicines that is prescribed according to the individual and the infection being treated. Complete the course of therapy given and follow the instructions on how to take the medicine, even if you feel better. And remember, to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you experience any negative effects while taking the medicine.
This global threat to our existence can only be overcome if we present a ‘United Resistance to Antimicrobial Resistance’.
As part of WAAW 2020, CARPHA will join the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Canadian Integrated Program for Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance (CIPARS) in a webinar “The Importance of Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance” on Monday 23rd November 2020.