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Antibiotic Awareness Week: how we can help fight antibiotic resistance

15 November, 2016

Antibiotic Awareness Week is a global health initiative to alert everyone to the serious health threat posed by antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotic Awareness Week is a global health initiative to alert everyone to the serious health threat posed by antibiotic resistance.

To mark the beginning of Antibiotic Awareness Week 2016, Minister for Health and Aged Care, Sussan Ley reminded the community that an increase in the use of antibiotics is leading to more antibiotic resistant infections.

"Antibiotic Awareness Week is a time to stop and think about how we contribute to the problem of antibiotic resistance," Minister Ley said.

"I encourage all Australians to consider their use of antibiotics. Antibiotics must only be used when they are really needed.

"People shouldn't expect their doctor to prescribe antibiotics for a cold or the flu, and we should only use antibiotics as they are prescribed and at the time they are prescribed."

The Turnbull Government recently launched the National Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Strategy implementation plan, which aims to better protect Australians from the immediate global threat of antibiotic resistant superbugs.

The Implementation Plan for the Strategy focuses on activities that will minimise the development of antibiotic – resistant strains of infections and ensure the continued availability of effective antibiotics.

Activities undertaken by the Federal Government, state and territory governments, professional bodies and research organisations will include:

    • Tools and resources to support general practice and raise awareness about antimicrobial resistance within the community.
    • A One Health Antimicrobial Resistance in Australia website.
    • Training workshops and online education for health professionals.
    • Species-specific antibiotic guidelines for use by veterinarians in the clinical management of various species of animals.
    • Implementing a national AMR and antibiotic usage surveillance system for future integration with animal health and agricultural surveillance.

The AMR Implementation Plan can be found here.

Compared with people in other OECD countries, Australians have a high use of antibiotics for human health. Antibiotic use is a key driver of antibiotic resistance and the more people use antibiotics, the more likely resistance will develop.

"Australia's high rate of antibiotic consumption is a concern," Minister Ley said.

"All Australians need to take action to change habits that can contribute to antibiotic resistance for the health of the entire community."

More information about Antibiotic Awareness Week can be found on the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care website at www.safetyandquality.gov.au.

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