As defined by the ECDC “Antimicrobial resistance is a major public health challenge in Europe and globally. Each year throughout the European Union, Iceland and Norway, more than 35 000 people die from infections with bacteria that are resistant to antimicrobials, a number that has increased in recent years. The impact that these infections have on public health is comparable to that of influenza, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS combined.”
The Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is not a “silent” enemy anymore. It is continuing to create severe health problems. In this context, the EFN participated in the European Antibiotic Awareness Day 2023 ECDC Event which focused on the current antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial consumption situation in a One Health perspective, the overall cost of inaction, and the initiatives that are taking place to tackle AMR.
According to what presented by Andrea Ammon, Director, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the ECDC is urging actions as:
- The prudent use of antimicrobial agents – only when needed, correct dose, correct dose intervals, correct duration;
- The infection prevention and control – hand hygiene, screening for carriage, isolation of patients, environmental cleaning etc.
- The new antimicrobial agents – such as with a novel mechanism of action.
In this context, a One Health approach plays a key role in collecting antimicrobial consumption data to guide policy and research, in supporting the development of new medicines and treatment approaches and in promoting responsible use of antibiotics.
Francesca Colombo Head of Health Division, OECD, affirmed that more than 9.5 million extra days are spent in hospitals across the EU/EEA countries per year due to AMR and this has an incredible opportunity cost!
AMR continues to be a serious challenge that needs to be addressed. As stressed by Prof. Dirk Ramaekers, from the Federal Public Service Public Health, Food Chain Safety & Environment, AMR will be a priority for the Belgium EU Presidency continuing the work of the Swedish and Spanish Presidencies, and keeping the AMR high on the political agenda of the next European Commission.
The role of nurses and all healthcare professionals in combating AMR is key for patients’ safety and for delivering high quality care. Spreading the right knowledge on the risks related to AMR is an essential step forward for building a better future and, to do so, nurses can be the best ally. Engaging nurses in the debate is what we need!