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World Antibiotic Awareness Week, 13-19 November 2017

14 November 2017

This year's theme: Seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional before taking antibiotics.

Antibiotic Awareness Week, which starts November 13 and ends November 19., is a chance to inform people about the proper use of antibiotics.

The International Poultry Council also questioned WHO's stance on antibiotics, noting that "the IPC is very concerned that the World Health Organization guidelines inappropriately tie the hands of producers and limit their options for using antimicrobials for prevention, control and treatment of diseases based on specific need".

Since they were first marketed in the 1940s, antibiotics have helped to revolutionize modern healthcare, offering cures to previously untreatable infections.

Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay says New Zealand is committed to tackling what is a global challenge.

"Antibiotic resistance is a global crisis that we can not ignore", says Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO.

"We are all in this fight together, but the Awareness week is about bringing the message to all New Zealanders - so they can understand that when they see a health professional, they may increasingly hear a message that antibiotics just aren't the answer for their particular health issue".

"It's therefore really important that people use antibiotics in the right way - the right drug, at the right dose, at the right time for the right duration".

Dr John Wyeth from PHARMAC says they are charged with getting the best possible health outcomes for New Zealanders from the public medicines budget - and antimicrobial resistance could undermine that.

Chris Little is the infectious diseases and antimicrobial stewardship pharmacist at Capital Coast District Health Board. "The volume of antibiotics used in animals is continuing to increase worldwide, driven by a growing demand for foods of animal origin, often produced through intensive animal husbandry".

"We have patients undergoing surgery, and chemotherapy, and their immune systems are weakened".

Staff and students will be able to surrender their unused or out of date antibiotics for safe disposal at the Sherfield Building on South Kensington campus and the Commonwealth Building at Hammersmith, between 12:00-13:30. Some nurses are prescribers now and more will come.

"We need to raise awareness, particularly in younger people, that antibiotics are a precious resource which are ineffective for the treatment of viruses and should be reserved for the treatment of bacterial infections".

The WHO said their guidelines contribute directly to the aims of the Global action plan on antimicrobial resistance adopted by the World Health Assembly in 2015 and the Declaration of the High-Level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Antimicrobial Resistance, adopted in 2016.

World Antibiotic Awareness Week, 13-19 November 2017