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World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2021: Spread awareness, stop resistance

November 24, 2021
Antimicrobial resistance is a serious public health and international development issue. IDRC is supporting the development of solutions for low- and middle-income countries.
A lab assistant in a lab coat and hijab is surrounded by shelves with beakers full of yellow liquid and large vats on the floor.
IDRC / Bartay
Blue Archipelago lab assistant Bidarul Munir observing the algae culture progression.

Each year, November 18 to 24 marks World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, an initiative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the World Organisation for Animal Health and the World Health Organization to increase awareness about antimicrobial resistance globally and encourage best practices to avoid the further emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections. This year’s theme is Spread Awareness, Stop Resistance. 

Antimicrobial resistance is an urgent public health and international development issue 

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is eroding the effectiveness of the life-saving antibiotics that our health-care and agricultural systems rely upon. AMR kills an estimated 700,000 people a year. It significantly impacts populations in low- and middle-income countries, especially in settings where its spread is facilitated by factors such as poor hygiene and sanitation, limited access to adequate health-care infrastructure, and a lack of or inability to enforce regulations relating to AMR. Given the severity and extent of the problem, failing to stop the spread of AMR could jeopardize progress towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.   

Antimicrobial resistance and animal health 

Globally, the amount of antimicrobials purchased for use in animal production is almost double that purchased for use in humans. Large-scale misuse of antimicrobials fosters the development of resistant pathogens, which can spread to humans from animals directly and indirectly, for instance through exposure to livestock infected with AMR pathogens or through contaminated meat.  

What is IDRC doing? 

IDRC supports initiatives across human and animal health that focus on the needs of populations in low- and middle- income countries, including: 

How you can engage with World Antimicrobial Awareness Week and learn more about AMR 

This year’s theme encourages everyone to spread awareness to stop resistance. Here are some places to start: 

  • Listen and share the Innovating Alternatives podcast with friends, family, colleagues and collaborators to learn more about AMR and how IDRC is contributing to innovations for food animal production 

  • Tweet using the hashtags #WAAW #AntimicrobialResistance #AMR #HandleWithCare and feel free to tag @Livestock_IDRC to share your thoughts on this issue