Every Day Should Be Antibiotic Awareness Day

On 18 November EPF was in Stockholm at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on the occasion of the European Antibiotic Awareness Day 2019. (and also World Antibiotic Awareness Week).

Antibiotic resistance affects everyone – but especially people with chronic conditions. They may be more vulnerable to infections; they can also more easily pick up resistant bacteria as they need to spend more time in healthcare environments.

Patients with multi-drug-resistant infections have very limited treatment options. Every year around 33,000 people in Europe and 700,000 worldwide die from resistant infections – as many as from influenza, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS combined.

Many healthcare procedures require antibiotics to prevent or deal with infections. Resistance poses a grave risk for example to cancer patients who need surgical interventions, patients who need transplants or other procedures that can be impossible if there are no effective antibiotics to treat infections. Read patient stories on the EAAD website.

The patient community can play a role  

We have written previously about the importance of patient organisations’ engagement in combating resistance. You can also (re)watch our “breakfast briefing” interview with ECDC expert Dominique Monnet (2017) who talked to us about resistance and how it affects us all. Kaisa Immonen, EPF Director of Policy says: “As a patient community, we should speak out about antibiotic resistance because it affects patients in specific ways. There are things that can be done, from simple hand hygiene – which everyone can do – to investing in improving infection control in hospital environments. Patients need to be actively engaged in spreading awareness and we need to demand action from our healthcare providers and our politicians.” 

Among the highlights of the meeting was the presentation of the results of a new survey on the attitudes and knowledge of healthcare professionals on antibiotic resistance. The survey shows professionals know more about resistance than the general public – as they should – but there are important gaps. EPF believes that healthcare professionals’ and patients' organisations should work together to develop, for example, guidance for professionals on how to talk about antibiotics with patients.

Have you been affected by antibiotic resistance? If you would like to share your story with EPF, please email us on policy@eu-patient.eu

Feeling creative? The EU-funded Joint Action on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare-Associated Infections (EU-JAMRAI) in which EPF is a stakeholder partner, has launched a design contest to find a symbol for the threat of antibiotic resistance. Anyone can participate and the contest is open until 31 March 2020. Visit https://eu-jamrai.eu/ 

For more information and a wealth of resources, visit the EAAD website.