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UN HEALTH AGENCY STEPS UP FIGHT AGAINST ‘INVISIBLE PANDEMIC’ OF ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE

Posted by ALPHA88 CHARITY | Jan 12, 2019

As resistance to antibiotics grows, the World Health Organization (WHO) has launched the latest stage of its campaign to fight this deadly health risk – likened by the agency to an “invisible pandemic”– with the launch of a new online tool for health professionals on Tuesday.

The AWaRe portal divides antibiotics into three groups – Access, Watch and Reserve – and explains which antibiotics should be used to treat the most common and serious infections (Access), which ones should be available at all times in the healthcare system (Watch), and those that must be used sparingly or preserved and used only as a last resort (Reserve).

The campaign is designed to raise the proportion of global consumption of antibiotics in the Access group to at least 60%, and to reduce use of the antibiotics most at risk of resistance from the Watch and Reserve groups. Using Access antibiotics lowers the risk of resistance because they are ‘narrow-spectrum’ drugs that target a specific micro=organism rather than several. They are also less costly because they are available in generic form.

The importance of using the tool is underscored by WHO’s estimate that over half of antibiotics in many countries are administered inappropriately. Examples include the use of the drugs to treat viruses (antibiotics only treat bacterial infections), or patients being prescribed the wrong antibiotic.

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