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Minster Marks Antibiotic Awareness Week, 12-18 November 2012

Minster Marks Antibiotic Awareness Week, 12-18 November 2012

Today marks the beginning of global Antibiotic Awareness Week and for the first time in Australia, doctors, pharmacists, hospitals staff, and consumers alike will take part in a national program of activities designed to combat antibiotic resistance.

On Wednesday November 14, the Minister for Health and Ageing, the Hon. Tanya Plibersek MP, will join NPS MedicineWise and the Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care in Brisbane to mark Antibiotic Awareness Week and launch new data on Australian consumer attitudes to antibiotics.

Globally, there is growing concern that the misuse and overuse of antibiotics is contributing to the rapid development and spread of bacteria that antibiotics may not be able to treat. In fact, the World Health Organization has identified antibiotic resistance as one of the greatest threats to human health today.

With around 19 million prescriptions written every year, Australia has one of the highest rates of antibiotic use in the world. Combating antimicrobial resistance by encouraging the safe and appropriate use of antibiotics in hospitals and the community is a key focus for Australian state and territory governments.

2012 is the first year this global health initiative has been held as a nationally coordinated event in Australia. The event, held from 12 -18 November, is also recognised in Canada, the USA and Europe.

Over the course of this week, Australian consumers and health professionals will be encouraged to rethink the way they use or prescribe antibiotics to help fight the global spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

In Australia, Antibiotic Awareness Week is officially supported by the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases, the Australian Society for Antimicrobials, the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care (The Commission), and by NPS MedicineWise as part of a five-year campaign to address antibiotic resistance in Australia.

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