World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) aims to increase awareness of global antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites resist the effects of medications, making common infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death. Antimicrobials are agents that are critical tools for fighting diseases in humans, animals and plants and include antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal and antiprotozoal medicines. Multiple factors – including overuse of medicines in humans, livestock, and agriculture, as well as poor access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene – have accelerated the threat of antimicrobial resistance worldwide.
The slogan for 2020 is "Antimicrobials: handle with care" applicable to all sectors. The theme for the human health sector for WAAW 2020 is “United to preserve antimicrobials".