AWaRE: New WHO programme to reduce antibiotic resistance

New WHO programme to reduce antibiotic resistance

There is an increase in antibiotic resistance worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) is also attempting to stop this. In a statement, WHO Director Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stresses that increasing resistance to antibiotics threatens the achievements of medicine throughout the century. The new programme is called AWaRE. The name comes from the three basic pillars of the programme: Access, Watch and Reserve.

It divides antibiotics into three different groups. The first group contains the medicines that are the first choice for an infection because they have a specific effect on a pathogen. These should therefore be available at all times. This is followed by high-priority antibiotics, which should only be used in very specific cases and to a limited extent in human and veterinary medicine. Broad-spectrum antibiotics are also present at this stage. Finally, there is the final stage, which contains antibiotics which should only be used if all other means have been unsuccessful.

In this way, WHO aims to achieve its goal of reducing the use of antibiotics from the Watch and Reserve groups. Instead, access to antibiotics from the first group Access is to be increased worldwide. Access to important antibiotics is still lacking in many countries. Because these antibiotics target a very specific microorganism, they also produce less resistance than broad-spectrum antibiotics. In addition, these antibiotics are much cheaper to purchase. In a similar way, the medicines are often misused. Estimates assume more than 50%. For example, antibiotics are used for viral infections, although they have no effect in this case. Or broad-spectrum antibiotics are used directly, rather than first being used on a specific one for the infection.

Further information on this topic can be found in the WHO statement or on the AWaRE homepage.