Antibiotic resistance is a growing threat to human health. Every year, over 25 million antibiotic prescriptions are written for human consumption in Canada, 30-50% of which are estimated to be unnecessary. The overuse of antibiotics is a major contributor to antibiotic resistance and is threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases. As a result there is a greater need for antibiotics to be used more judiciously, and treated as a non-renewable resource. Antibiotic stewardship is just this –using antibiotics only when needed, and ensuring conditions that require antibiotics are being treated with the right drug, dose, and duration.
Since March of 2017 Public Health Ontario (PHO) and Choosing Wisely Canada have been working together to raise awareness about antibiotic overuse in Ontario and develop a strategy for Antibiotic Awareness Week (AAW), November 13th-19th, 2017. PHO is an organization that partners with other stakeholder organizations in health care and government to help prevent illness and improve health for Ontarians. The project got underway with PHO organizing a meeting of its Antimicrobial Stewardship Advisory Committee, a multidisciplinary group of clinicians representing different sectors, who reviewed Choosing Wisely Canada’s existing list of over 20 recommendations related to antibiotic use. In true Choosing Wisely Canada spirit they developed a ‘top 6’ list of antibiotic stewardship items most pertinent across different health care specialties. From this list the Ontario Antibiotic Wisely campaign was born. The campaigns goals are to:
Over 13, 000 posters and handouts were sent to Ontario family doctors, in the lead up to AAW as well as cold and flu season.
To learn more about antimicrobial stewardship and how Choosing Wisely Canada is playing its part, check out the Antibiotic Wisely campaign page.