World Antibiotic Awareness Week is observed on November 18 to 24 every year.
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To mark the World Health Organization’s World AMR Awareness Week (WAAW), Magnolia Medical Technologies presents the report titled “Going Blue: Confronting the AMR Challenge.” This report is a call to health care providers and the public. It emphasizes the critical role of self-education, strict adherence to established medical protocols, and active advocacy for patient safety within the medical community.
By enhancing their understanding of the challenges posed by antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and unwaveringly following recommended medical guidelines, health care providers and the public can collectively contribute to extending lives and safeguarding the effectiveness of vital antibiotics. This report highlights the pivotal role everyone can play in the fight against AMR, ensuring that these life-saving antibiotics continue to be effective tools in health care.
To learn more about the report, Infection Control Today® (ICT®) spoke with Tammy Johnson, RN, BS, CPM, Magnolia Medical Technologies, a nurse who has personal experience with AMR, and wrote the Foreword to the report.
ICT: Your foreword in the WHO World AMR Awareness Week report has received much attention. Can you share your personal experience with AMR and how it motivated you to write the foreword?
Tammy Johnson, BS, RN, CPM, says,
"The fight against AMR is not just a medical challenge; it's a societal one. We all have a role to play. Our actions matter from policymakers to health care professionals to every single individual. This report is a call to action for everyone. We can make a significant impact by increasing awareness, improving diagnostics, and promoting responsible antibiotic use. Let's not forget the human stories behind these statistics; they are a powerful reminder of why we must act now with urgency."
Tammy Johnson, BS, RN, CPM: AMR is not just a professional concern for me but a deeply personal one. I lost my neighbor, a renal patient, to vancomycin resistance. His premature death, likely 15-20 years too soon, was a stark and painful reminder of the devastation caused by AMR. This experience was a turning point for me, highlighting the dire consequences of mismanaged antibiotic treatments and the importance of accurate diagnostics. Considering that as of 2019, we had an estimated 4.95 million deaths associated with bacterial antimicrobial resistance and 1.27 million deaths attributed to bacterial AMR, per the 2022 Lancet article, this is a very significant impending threat for every one of us. Writing the foreword was my way of honoring my friend’s memory and raising awareness about this critical issue.
ICT: Could you provide an overview of the key findings and highlights from the WHO World AMR Awareness Week report, especially as they relate to the global impact of antimicrobial resistance?
TJ: As highlighted in our report, the global impact of AMR is staggering. In 2019, 1.27 million deaths were attributed to drug-resistant infections, a number projected to rise to 10 million by 2050. This crisis is not just a health issue but an economic one, with a predicted cost of $100 trillion globally by 2050. Our research also shows a significant gap in awareness and education about AMR, with 62% of non-medical professionals having never discussed it with their health care provider. This report is a clarion call for immediate action to address this growing threat.
ICT: What are the primary objectives and goals of WHO World AMR Awareness Week, and how does it contribute to addressing the issue of AMR on a global scale?
TJ: As a passionate advocate in the fight against AMR, I see WHO World AMR Awareness Week (WAAW) as a crucial global initiative. Its primary objectives are to increase antimicrobial resistance awareness and encourage best practices among the general public, health care workers, and policymakers. This initiative plays a vital role in slowing the pace of resistance by uniting people worldwide and promoting actions like updating social media profiles to raise awareness. The collective actions encouraged during WAAW are essential in combating the global threat of AMR.
ICT: What are the most pressing challenges that health care professionals face when dealing with AMR in their day-to-day work, and how can these challenges be addressed?
TJ: As a nurse, I've seen firsthand the challenges health care professionals face with AMR. One major issue is the misuse of antibiotics due to inaccurate diagnostic tests, particularly in cases like bloodstream infections. For example, 40% of positive blood culture results can be false positives, leading to unnecessary antibiotic use, which leads to resistant organism development. Addressing this requires a two-pronged approach: improving diagnostic accuracy and educating both medical professionals and the public about the judicious use of antibiotics.
ICT: The report emphasizes the importance of responsible antibiotic use. Can you explain why this is crucial in the fight against AMR and what steps individuals and health care systems can take to promote responsible antibiotic use?
TJ: As a health care professional, I've seen the consequences of irresponsible antibiotic use professionally and personally. Our report highlights the urgent need for both the public and health care professionals to understand the gravity of AMR. For individuals, it's crucial to only use antibiotics when prescribed by a health care professional and complete the full course. Health care systems must prioritize accurate diagnostics to avoid unnecessary antibiotic use, as false-positive results can lead to misuse, contributing significantly to AMR.
ICT: Do you have anything else to add?
TJ: The fight against AMR is not just a medical challenge; it's a societal one. We all have a role to play. Our actions matter from policymakers to health care professionals to every single individual. This report is a call to action for everyone. We can make a significant impact by increasing awareness, improving diagnostics, and promoting responsible antibiotic use. Let's not forget the human stories behind these statistics; they are a powerful reminder of why we must act now with urgency.