Thursday, 19 November 2020 13:12

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2020 Statement of WHO Country Representative Iraq

Baghdad, Iraq, 19 November 2020: From 18 to 24 November, Iraq joined the global community in recognizing the importance of handling antimicrobials with care among all human beings and animals, under the theme "united to preserve antimicrobials."

Antimicrobial resistance is arising threat to human health. It is currently one of the top ten public health threats facing humanity across the world. Antimicrobial resistance occurs when drugs such as antibiotics are misused or abused by human beings or animals, making them unable to work as they should and, in some cases, completely fail to work because bacteria, parasites, and fungi can no longer respond to these medicines, which compromises the effective treatment of communicable and infectious diseases.

Antimicrobial Resistance is worsening globally due to poor hygiene and infection prevention and control measures in communities and health facilities, lack of community awareness, and self-medication of antimicrobial without the doctor's consultations. That is why this year's campaign aims to raise awareness of antibiotic resistance and encourage best practices among communities, policy-makers, and health workers in both the human and animal health fields.

Antimicrobials do not treat viruses. They treat bacterial infections. Unfortunately, antimicrobials misuse and overuse during the COVIID-19 pandemic could worsen antimicrobial resistance, increasing death.

Human and animal health workers should prescribe and dispense antibiotics only when they are genuinely needed, and they can limit the spread of infections through good hygiene and sanitation practices.

As individuals, we can ensure that we only use antibiotics when prescribed by a licensed health professional and take the full prescribed course. We can also play a part in preventing infections and reducing the need for antibiotics by frequently washing our hands and covering our mouths when coughing or sneezing.

If no action is immediately taken to control antibiotics misuse, drug resistance could cause around 7000 deaths globally per year, which will grow further to 10 million by 2050. Improving water, sanitation, and hygiene is fundamentally important in preventing disease, ensuring that contaminated waste containing resistant microbes does not enter human and animal food systems, and limits antibiotic use in livestock and aquafarming.

WHO is working with the UN Food and Agricultural Organization in Iraq to support the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture to strengthen their response to Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), using the "One Health" integrated surveillance across human health, food chain, and environment sectors. With WHO's support, the MOH developed, endorsed, and launched the national action plan for Antimicrobial Resistance. The plans are currently being implemented across the country. WHO also, together with MOH, conducted capacity building on Antimicrobial Resistance surveillance.

WHO reiterates its commitment to prioritize antimicrobial resistance in line with WHO's Eastern Mediterranean Regional vision of health for all by all, and in this regard, I urge everyone; the media, public health, and animal workers and the general public to join us, during this World Antimicrobial Awareness to combat antimicrobial resistance.

For more information or to request media interviews, please contact:
Pauline Ajello, Communications Officer, +964 7729 877 288, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Ajyal Sultani, Communications Officer, +964 7740 892 878, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Ms Baraa Shaba, Communications Officer, +964 780 001 0244, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Additional Info

  • Agency: WHO

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