WHO urges adoption of antibiotic resistance tool

The World Health Organization launched a global campaign to encourage adoption of a tool designed to combat the spread of antibiotic resistance.

The campaign urges governments to adopt the AWaRe tool, which classifies antibiotics into three groups: access, watch and reserve. These classifications can help providers identify the antibiotics that should be available at all times in the healthcare system, those that should be used sparingly and those that should only be used as a last resort.

The campaign also aims to increase the proportion of antibiotics consumed globally in the access group to at least 60 percent, and to reduce use of the antibiotics that have the highest resistance risk in the watch and reserve groups.

"Antimicrobial resistance is one of the most urgent health risks of our time and threatens to undo a century of medical progress," said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO's director-general. "All countries must strike a balance between ensuring access to lifesaving antibiotics and slowing drug resistance by reserving the use of some antibiotics for the hardest-to-treat infections. I urge countries to adopt AWaRe, which is a valuable and practical tool for doing just that."

According to the WHO, improving protocols around antibiotic use is a key way to combat antibiotic resistance, especially since the development of new antibiotics has been slow.

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