Statement from Dr. Theresa Tam, Director of Public Health Canada

Ottawa, ONAnd the November 24, 2022 / cnw / – from From November 18 to 24, 2022We have recognized the annual World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW). This year’s campaign called for cross-sectoral collaboration to preserve the efficacy of these important medicines and to promote preventive measures that address antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Antimicrobial resistance is already facing a huge burden on human health, the healthcare system, and the economy.

More than 14,000 deaths in Canada In 2018 it was linked to a resistant infection. Of these deaths, 5,400 were directly attributable to antimicrobial resistance. In 2018, the AMR cost the Canadian healthcare system approx $1.4 billion and cut Canada Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is estimated $2 billion.

It is a complex issue that requires a One Health approach that recognizes the interdependence of humans, animals and plants and their shared environment. One Health promotes a whole-of-society approach by integrating human medicine, veterinary medicine, public health, agro-food production, and environmental protection in order to develop programs and policies to effectively address current challenges and achieve better health outcomes.

Using the One Health approach also reminds us of the importance of monitoring changes in our climate and their implications for serious issues such as antimicrobial resistance. No one is immune to climate change or antimicrobial resistance, and both crises affect societies unevenly. Like COVID-19, some face higher risks of exposure and are at greater risk of serious health outcomes. In our fight against antimicrobial resistance, we need to think beyond human health, and look at our shared environment with a particular focus on equity.

Public Health Agency Canada We work with partners locally, nationally and globally to take rapidly increasing action on antimicrobial resistance and to preserve the effectiveness of the medicines we depend on every day.

Priorities include building pan-Canada leadership, securing access to new antimicrobials, and preserving the effectiveness of existing and new antimicrobials.

Achieving these priorities requires that we provide relevant and accurate information to stakeholders, researchers, healthcare practitioners, producers and policy makers to guide research, policy and action on new and emerging antimicrobial and antimicrobial use trends.

in CanadaAntimicrobial use in humans continues to decline which is good, but inappropriate prescribing is still common.

Data from the National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey revealed that approximately 23% of antibiotic prescriptions in Canadian healthcare facilities were inappropriate, due to the wrong choice of antimicrobial, dose, route of administration and/or duration.

It is important to know the risks and what we can do today to prevent AMR. As individuals, we can combat AMR by making wise choices and learning about the responsible use of antibiotics and other antimicrobial medications. Here are three basic steps:

  1. Use antibiotics only when necessary: One of the most important things we can do to prevent AMR is to use antibiotics only when needed. This means they are not used to treat colds or other viral illnesses – which antibiotics are not designed to treat.
  2. Prevent infection and reduce its spread: We can all help control AMR by preventing infection and the spread of disease in the first place. This means washing our hands thoroughly and often, staying away from others when we are sick as well as avoiding close contact with people when they are sick.
  3. Reducing the risk of infection and preventing severe disease and complications through vaccination: Vaccines reduce the risk of infection and also help prevent serious illness or complications that may lead to increased use of antibiotics to treat bacterial infections.

Let’s all do our part to maintain antimicrobial effectiveness and prevent antimicrobial resistance.

Dr. Theresa Tam
Chief Public Health Officer

SOURCE Health Canada
For more information: Contacts: Media Relations, Public Health Agency of Canada, 613-957-2983, [email protected]

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