Moving WHO guidance on antibiotics into heart of clinical practice

The World Health Organization (WHO) has today published the WHO AWaRe (Access, Watch, Reserve) antibiotic book, to provide concise, evidence-based guidance on how to optimize use of antibiotics included on WHO’s Model Lists of Essential Medicines. It includes information on the choice of antibiotic, dose, route of administration, and duration of treatment for more than 30 of the most common clinical infections in children and adults in both primary health care and hospital settings.

Antimicrobial resistance
is a threat to global health and development, and it contributes to millions of
deaths worldwide each year. Inappropriate use and overuse of antibiotics drive
the increase in antimicrobial resistance and have a detrimental impact on the
effectiveness of these critical medicines. Up until now, easily accessible,
evidence-based guidance from trusted sources has been lacking for many common
infections in many countries, especially in low- and middle-income settings.The AWaRe antibiotic book
is expected to be of particular value in those settings where WHO guidance
might be the only high-quality information source available.

To further address the
need for easy access to high-quality resources to improve antibiotic
prescribing globally, WHO has collaborated with the health technology company,
Firstline, to develop an innovative platform that delivers the recommendations
in the AWaRe antibiotic book to health professionals at the point of care via a
free web and mobile app, making authoritative clinical support available
anytime and anywhere.

The AWaRe antibiotic book
has been published by WHO under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
3.0 IGO
licence. WHO’s open access publishing policy allows for the publication
to be freely accessible and reusable by the public for non-commercial use. “This
means that other parties such as Firstline can incorporate and disseminate WHO
recommendations,” says Dr Benedikt Huttner, WHO Essential Medicines Team Lead,
“We need partners to amplify WHO recommendations for what should be done to
reduce antimicrobial resistance globally.”

“Clinical decision support
tools are fundamental tools to equip frontline health professionals with the
knowledge and actions needed to effectively diagnose and manage acute
infectious diseases” says Dr Clive Ondari, Director of the Department of Health
Product Policy and Standards, “but more needs to be done to scale up
dissemination and translations into other languages”.

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