EPhEU (Employed community Pharmacists in Europe) is supporting World AMR Awareness Week (WAAW) which runs from 18 – 24 November 2023.  WAAW is an annual, global campaign that aims to improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance and encourage best practice.  EPhEU is encouraging pharmacists to get involved in the campaign and become antibiotic guardians.

Scale of the problem

A report from EDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) and WHO (World Health Organisation) confirmed that across Europe the number of patients infected by resistant bacteria is increasing and that antibiotic resistance is a major threat to public health.  Antimicrobial resistance surveillance in Europe 2022[1] which is based on 2020 data, highlighted that “more than 670,000 infections occur in the EU/EEA due to bacteria resistant to antibiotics, and that approximately 33,000 people die as a direct consequence of these infections. The related cost to the health-care systems of EU/EEA countries is estimated to be around €1.1 billion”.

Role of pharmacists as antibiotic guardians

Through the work of the Medicines to Ukraine campaign, EPhEU members have specifically heard firsthand about the challenges that AMR presents where humanitarian crisis occur, however this is also a challenge in all our healthcare systems and communities.

Antimicrobial stewardship programmes are an important component in combatting the global threat of AMR and to support the responsible use of these vital medicines.  Pharmacists, wherever they work, can and do play a critical role in this area. As experts in medicines, pharmacists have extensive knowledge of antimicrobial treatments which enables them to ensure that patients receive the right medicine at the right dose for the right duration, and so improving the chances of a successful outcome.

Join the campaign

The theme for WAAW 2023 is “preventing antimicrobial resistance together", and the members of EPhEU are raising awareness and jointly calling for pharmacists to show their support by pledging to become antimicrobial guardians.  Campaign resources are available here;

Click here for further details on ECDC’s EAAD campaign including posters and infographics

Click here to find out about campaigns across Europe

Click here to access WAAW/EAAD toolkits and resources to run local campaigns in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Training and resources

There are many organisations that provide training in the area of AMR. One organisation that provides a varied programme of events, training and free educational resources for pharmacists is The British Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC). This is an internationally renowned organisation in this field with a commitment to scientific excellence. Their membership is made up of an international audience, the majority of whom are pharmacists. Learn more here https://bsac.org.uk/membership/

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