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Adopt AWaRe, Handle antibiotics with care

A new global campaign to improve antimicrobial stewardship practices is launched.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a global campaign called "AdoptAWaRe, Handle antibiotics with care". The campaign to promote the AWaRe antimicrobials classification categories and reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The Fleming Fund has supported both the development and the refinement of the AWaRe (Access, Watch, Reserve) categorisation.

In 2017 WHO developed a new classification of antibiotics within the WHO Essential Medicines List to encourage the rational use of antibiotics and support optimal prescribing. This WHO essential medicines list divides antibiotics into three categories: "Access," "Watch," and "Reserve" with recommendations for when each category should be used. “Access” antibiotics are for the most common and serious infections with the lowest risk for antibiotic resistance. “Reserve” antibiotics should be used sparingly and only as a last resort.

The goal for the campaign is that by 2023, at least 60% of all consumed antibiotics are “Access” antibiotics. This will result in better antibiotic use, reductions in costs, and improve access to antibiotics, especially in developing countries. The inappropriate use of antibiotics is a key factor in the rise AMR, with estimates that more than 50% of antibiotics in many countries are used inappropriately contributing to 750,000 deaths every year.

The Fleming Fund will now support the implementation of AWaRe and enable countries to build strategies to optimise antibiotic use and reduce resistance with the provision of tools to guide prescription. Fleming Fund will directly support WHO to run regional workshops to train countries in the AWaRe index and to support country-level implementation of the EML and funding will also support further refinement of the classification system, for example ensuring that non-classified antibiotics are assigned to the most appropriate AWaRe category.

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