World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) is held each November. The aims are to increase awareness of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) among healthcare workers, policy makers and the general public, and to encourage people across the globe to play their part in preserving antibiotics for the future.
Many Pacific Island Countries have participated in WAAW since the World Health Organization (WHO) first promoted it in 2015. This year, Therapeutic Guidelines collaborated with Ministries of Health in Fiji, Kiribati and Solomon Islands to support some of their WAAW activities.
In Solomon Islands, pamphlets were distributed across the country with information written in Solomon Islands Pidgin explaining what antibiotics are, why antibiotics don’t work for colds and flu, and what to do to manage symptoms.
The pharmacy and health promotion teams in Kiribati worked with the local radio station to play messages about antibiotics and appropriate antibiotic use. Each day, people could call in to the radio to test their knowledge about antibiotics. Posters and pamphlets about antibiotic resistance were also circulated at hospitals and health centres.
In Fiji, a handy 2021 calendar with messages about antibiotic resistance, advice on appropriate use of antibiotics and how good hygiene and vaccinations can prevent infections was included with the Saturday newspaper. For health practitioners, a poster containing surgical antibiotic prophylaxis recommendations from their antibiotic guidelines was developed and distributed to surgical wards and operating theatres across Fiji.
These activities were led by local pharmacists who understand the health threat posed by antibiotic resistance and the best ways to reach people in their communities, and were supported by funding from Therapeutic Guidelines International Program.