World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2020
18–24 November 2020
The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on antibiotic use has varied from country to country. Some countries have seen their antibiotic use dramatically decline as a side-effect of lock down, physical distancing and improved hand and respiratory hygiene. Unfortunately, in other situations antibiotic use has risen alarmingly, because people mistakenly believe antibiotics will help treat or protect against COVID-19 and purchase antibiotics without a proper consultation or prescription. As this year’s World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) is taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic, this gives us an opportunity to focus on preventing the pandemic from worsening the ongoing antibiotic resistance crisis.
During WAAW 2020, WHO/Europe will be promoting the responsible and prudent use of antibiotics across sectors, with different professions working together – from vets to doctors, pharmacists to farmers. WAAW will also raise awareness of other essential antimicrobials beyond antibiotics that are also affected by resistance.
WAAW aims to increase awareness of global antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policy-makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of AMR. WHO/Europe urges all countries in the Region to take part in the week. AMR knows no borders and this is an annual opportunity to join the global community in advocating for prudent antimicrobial use. WAAW owes its origins to European Antibiotic Awareness Day, a European Union initiative that started in 2008, and which WHO/Europe joined in 2012, and extended to non-European Union countries. World Antibiotic Awareness Week began in 2015 and became World Antimicrobial Awareness Week in 2020.