Antibiotic resistance, or the increasing resistance of bacteria to the effects of antibiotics, is a problem that is gaining momentum. Unless we change our behaviour towards antibiotics, their misuse and often overuse, antibiotic resistance in bacteria could be responsible for up to 10 million deaths a year by 2050. That is why the project „Prevention of antibiotic resistance“ is launched in our country with the aim to spread awareness about this issue. In addition, the European Antibiotic Awareness Day (November 18) and the World Antibiotic Week (November 18 – November 24) will take place, the central theme of which is antibiotic resistance.
Despite the fact that the resistance of bacteria to antibiotics is a global threat to public health, a significant part of the society still does not know about this issue. This is also demonstrated by the results of the Engage Hill agency and REMMARK survey from July 2021 on a sample of 2,000 respondents representing the Czech population aged 16-65. It reveals that less than half of the respondents (only 43.5%) did not hear about the term „antibiotic resistance“. In the target group of university students, 2 out of 3 (64.6%) are aware of the meaning of this phrase.
„The survey further articulates the importance of spreading awareness. People generally make mistakes out of ignorance. If, in our country, we do not know anything about antibiotic resistance at all, then we cannot be surprised when our society does not handle antibiotics responsibly, ” doc. MUDr. Helena Žemličková, Ph.D., Head of the National Reference Laboratory for Antibiotics, points out.
The new project will spread awareness about antibiotic resistance among the Czech population
Experience with awareness-raising campaigns gives hope for change because their impact on the public is proven by practice. Between the years 2000-2007, one of them took place in France, during which the number of prescribed antibiotics actually dropped radically by tens of percent.
„Currently, the project „Prevention of antibiotic resistance“ is being launched in our country and is implemented by the State Institute of Public Health. The most crucial step is to raise awareness among the population about how to use antibiotics properly and what to avoid. This is the only way we can ensure the correct functionality of antibiotics, „adds H. Žemličková.
Two global initiatives also stress the greatness of the problem of antibiotic resistance
The program of European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) and World Antibiotic Week (WAAW) will explain the principles of proper handling of antibiotics and also point to any clear misinformation regarding this matter. Excessive and incorrect use of antibiotics clearly contributes to the emergence and spread of bacteria resistance. This causes the bacteria to stop responding to antibiotics, which greatly complicates the treatment of infections and hence also increases the risk of the spreading of disease and death. Such a topic must constantly be reminded.
Want some facts about antibiotic resistance? Attend the online lecture!
European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) is organized by the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC). It provides support for individual national campaigns on how to conscientiously use antibiotics in the EU/EEA. It is traditionally held on November 18 throughout Europe. Due to the pandemic, however, EAAD, including campaigns and cooperations with „influencers“, will take place in digital form this year. The following hashtags are associated with the event: #EAAD, #AntibioticResistance, #Antibiotics, and #KeepAntibioticsWorking.
If you want to know more, you can register on the ESCAIDE website. An online lecture on the topic will take place as part of the EAAD on the 18th of November from 10:00 to 11:30 CET. The event is free and you can learn the latest and most relevant information on antibiotic resistance from the largest capacities in the field.
Let us spread awareness – let us stop resistance
World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW), which coincides with the European Antibiotic Awareness Day (November 18) and ends on November 24, is sponsored by 3 organizations – the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The theme of this year’s initiative is „Let’s raise awareness – let’s stop resistance“. The overarching slogan is then „Antibiotics – let’s handle them with care“.
The WAAW 2021 campaign asks businesses, healthcare providers and the general public to try to raise awareness of antibiotic resistance. Anyone can contribute and help this concerning trend. All you have to do is communicate with the people around you and maybe share a story or two about this topic.
Will you support the blue color in the fight against antibiotic resistance?
As part of World Antibiotic Week, a „colorful“ campaign called „Go blue“ will take place in order to make the topic more visually engaging. The light blue color symbolizes hope and also represents the cooperation of various bodies to address this global health issue. You can also get involved by bringing the blue color anywhere, either physically or online, from 18th to 24th of November.