During this year’s World Antimicrobial Awareness Week we were joined by leading authorities who took part in a new RSM programme on antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
Professor Dame Sally Davies, UK Special Envoy on Antimicrobial Resistance, has been campaigning for awareness and action on AMR for many years. While welcoming the growing recognition of AMR, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) listing it as a top ten risk to global public health alongside pandemics and climate change, she emphasised that there is much more that needs to be done to avert the ‘post-antibiotic apocalypse’.
“The biggest cause is human use… we are not using antibiotics as effectively or properly as we should,” commented Dame Sally, adding that improved diagnostics and surveillance are key to aiding better and safer antibiotic use around the world.
She highlighted the difference that COVID-19 has made in bringing back to the fore the importance of cleanliness and hygiene for infection control – perhaps one of very few ‘silver linings’ to come out of the pandemic.
As with COVID-19, vaccines will have a big part to play in reducing deaths from AMR, so addressing the issue of vaccine refusal is another key area identified by Dame Sally. “We have to listen to people and find a way to help them through to the science-based answers.”
Asked what healthcare professionals can do to help, Dame Sally said: “This matters, it’s growing, and you each can play a significant role,” – imploring healthcare professionals to bore their friends and family at dinner to help raise awareness of the problem.
On Monday 29 November, we continue the discussion on antimicrobial resistance with One Health: the missing link, an event designed to bring together veterinary and human healthcare professionals to explore the concept of One Health and engage in these important initiatives going forward. Join us – more info can be found here.