The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a global campaign urging governments to adopt a tool to reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), adverse events, and costs.
The AWaRe tool was developed by the WHO Essential Medicines List to contain rising resistance and make antibiotic use safer and more effective.
It classifies antibiotics into three distinct groups – Access, Watch, and Reserve – and specifies which antibiotics to use for the most common and serious infections, which ones should be available at all times in healthcare systems, and which must be used sparingly or only as a last resort.
The new campaign aims to increase the proportion of global consumption of (narrow spectrum) antibiotics in the Access group to at least 60%, and to reduce use of the antibiotics most at risk of resistance from the Watch and Reserve groups.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said AMR is one of the most urgent health risks of our time: “All countries must strike a balance between ensuring access to life-saving 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.”