13 November 2017

Seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional before taking antibiotics

Antibiotics have changed the world of medicine, ending many lethal diseases and preventing the spread of common infections.  However, misuse and overuse of these drugs is leading to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in both humans and animals in all areas of the world.


AMR happens when microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses, change as they are exposed to antibiotics. When taken inadequately, these medicines can become ineffective and infections persist, making their treatment more and more difficult. Drug-resistant infections kill 700,000 people worldwide each year, posing a particular threat to achieving sustainable development.


Some particular threats include:


  • Increased cost of health care with lengthier hospital stays and more essential intensive care
  • Development of multi-drug resistant TB
  • Complications for the fight against HIV and malaria
  • Compromised success of major surgery and cancer chemotherapy


This is why we must seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional before taking antibiotics, as this year’s World Antibiotic Awareness Week theme suggests.  Taking antibiotics without proper guidance from a qualified healthcare professional is considered misuse, or in some case, overuse. We have a window of opportunity to take action now, before it’s too late, to end the spread of AMR.


The UN Secretary-General has established an ad hoc Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance, which gathers several institutions working on this issue, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The objective of the Group—co-chaired by UN Deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, and the Director General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus—is to provide practical guidance to ensure concerted action to address AMR.

Antibiotic resistance is a security health issue of global magnitude.  It is only by working together that we will be able to curb it. Individuals, health and agriculture professionals, and governments must all play a role in tackling AMR.


Step up to stop the spread of AMR. Think twice. Seek Advice.