News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Antibiotic Resistance Makes Infections Harder To Treat

The Ministry of Health is supporting World Antimicrobial Awareness Week starting tomorrow (18 – 24 November 2020) by helping health professionals educate New Zealanders about the use of antimicrobial medicines.

The World Health Organization says antimicrobial resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and the environment, and it can result in superbugs becoming more of a threat.

Antimicrobial medicines include antibacterials, anti-virals, antiseptics, anti-fungals and anti-parasitic medicines. These become less effective when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites become resistant to key antimicrobials, making common infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.

Ministry of Health Chief Science Advisor Dr Ian Town says even with COVID-19 as the overriding health priority in New Zealand, health professionals around the country recognise the threat posed by antibiotic resistance, and are working together to raise awareness.

“Everyone can play their part in helping to reduce resistance to antibiotics and other medicines,” says Dr Town.

“Overuse of antibiotics in humans, animals and plants is driving the rise of drug-resistant infections and bacteria, which are making these medicines less effective.

“These medicines are precious resources and they need to be used with care.”

The Ministry is supporting a sector-wide initiative led by Antimicrobial Stewardship Pharmacists to raise awareness about antimicrobial use, and encouraging prescribers to document their use of antimicrobial medicines.

The initiative is also being supported by all district health boards, PHARMAC, Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand, Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand, New Zealand Hospital Pharmacists Association, ACC, Health Quality and Safety Commission, Ministry for Primary Industries and Best Practice Advocacy Centre New Zealand.

“Antibiotics only work against bacteria, they don’t work for viral infections like a cold or the flu – or COVID-19," says Dr Town.

“As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise overseas, the World Health Organization is raising concerns that the misuse of antibiotics during this pandemic could accelerate the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance.

“Basic habits like good hand hygiene can help stop resistance by reducing the need for antibiotics. COVID-19 shows how important it is to practice infection prevention in our healthcare settings and in our day-to-day lives.”

Dr Town also acknowledged the massive commitment which has been made throughout the health and disability sector to boost our infection prevention guidelines and procedures.

“Maintaining these measures will help keep antimicrobials working.”

Useful links:

Ministry of Health information and resources

Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand information and resources

World Health Organization information

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: The Phoenix Foundation Friend Ship Tour Docks In Wellington

A sense of local pride was certainly running high at the Opera House on Saturday night, as the lads ran through a tasty little set drawn mostly from their latest album Friend Ship (splash out for Xmas on the shocking pink extra-thick vinyl edition). More>>

Howard Davis: Avantdale Bowling Club

Auckland rapper and MC Tom Scott brought his stunning jazz-infused Taite Music Prize-winning project Avantdale Bowling Club to the Opera House headlining Wellington's 2020 Jazz Festival. More>>

Howard Davis: Kevin Field Quintet

With the hardest pews in town and an icon of Ruth Bader Ginsburg adorning the walls, St Peter's Church added a distinctly spiritual element to the debut of three new pieces by Kiwi jazz pianist and composer Kevin Field that celebrated our common humanity. More>>

Howard Davis: Three New Art Books for Xmas

Massey University and Te Papa Presses have published three new art books just in time for Xmas: Dick Frizzell's Me, According to the History of Art, Railways Studios, celebrating unique examples of government-sponsored advertising and design, and Nature - Stilled, Jane Ussher's extraordinary photographs of flora and fauna from the museum's natural history collections.

Howard Davis: Troy Kingi Rules The San Fran

The award-winning Northland musician performed songs from his new record The Ghost of Freddie Cesar, the fourth installment in his 10/10/10 series - ten albums in ten years in ten genres. More>>

Stage: Wellington’s Theatre Awards To Go Ahead

The Wellington Theatre Awards will go ahead despite a devastating year for New Zealand’s creative sector. Wellington Theatre Awards Trust Chair Tom Broadmore said, “the creative sector, and Wellington’s vibrant theatre sector has been gutted by the ... More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland