Education is the best weapon in the fight against antimicrobial resistance, WSLHD expert says

In a dedicated effort to tackle the worldwide challenge of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) enthusiastically embraced World AMR Awareness Week (WAAW) with Pharmacy teams across the District working tirelessly to share the important AMR messages of education around antibiotic use.

As Kylie Tran, Lead Pharmacist-Antimicrobial Stewardship at the Pharmacy Department in Blacktown and Mount Druitt Hospitals explained, this global campaign is celebrated annually to improve the awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance.

The medications that we use to treat bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites are becoming less and less effective with time, making infections more difficult to treat. We must be careful with how we use antimicrobials and promote strategies to reduce antimicrobial resistance, otherwise we won’t have any cure to treat simple infections.

Kylie Tran, Lead Pharmacist-Antimicrobial Stewardship at the Pharmacy Department in Blacktown and Mount Druitt Hospitals

Throughout WSLHD facilities, posters and information displays were strategically placed to inform both staff and visitors about the crucial importance of responsible antimicrobial use.

Blacktown Hospital also held an interactive experience at a special stall, featuring antimicrobial quizzes, engaging activities, and exciting prizes for clinicians and consumers alike.

The winner of the‘Guess how many ceftriaxone vials we used in October‘ game was Dr Shakti Dabholkar (Respiratory Staff Specialist), who had the closest guess with 2,170 vials (2,235 vials of Ceftriaxone were used in October).

There was also a whiteboard for people to brainstorm answers to the question ‘How can we prevent the spread of antimicrobial resistance?’. The winner of that draw was Dr Cheryl Fung (Resident Medical Officer) who wrote ‘Consult ID for antibiotic choice and duration’.

While speaking with The Pulse, Kylie emphasised five key points that she would like people to takeaway from the campaign:

  1. Antibiotics do not work for viral infections.
  2. Prevention of infection reduces need for antibiotics. Simple things like practicing good hand hygiene can help reduce this risk.
  3. If you need antibiotics, ask your doctor how long to take them for. The shortest course possible reduces risks of side effects and reduces antimicrobial resistance.
  4. Antibiotic allergies can change over time. If you have an allergy and need antibiotics, ask your doctor about checking if you’re still allergic.
  5. Everyone has a role to play in reducing antimicrobial resistance, and awareness and education is key for all patients.