The World Health Organization (WHO) is encouraging global adoption of a tool designed to reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance.
The AWaRe tool classifies antibiotics into three groups: Access, Watch and Reserve, to indicate which antibiotics to use for common or serious infections that should be used sparingly and only as a last resort.
The aim of the tool is to make it easier for clinicians, policy makers and prescribers to select the right antibiotics at the right time.
The WHO said that by 2023, 60% of all antibiotics consumed must come from the Access group, which has the lowest risk of developing resistance. It added that reaching this target will result not only in better use of antibiotics, but also reduced costs and increased access.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the WHO, urged countries to adopt AWaRe, describing is as a “valuable and practical tool”.
“Antimicrobial resistance is one of the most urgent health risks of our time and threatens to undo a century of medical progress,” he said.
“All countries must strike a balance between ensuring access to lifesaving antibiotics and slowing drug resistance by reserving the use of some antibiotics for the hardest-to-treat infections.”
According to the WHO, although more than 100 countries have created national plans to tackle antimicrobial resistance, but only a fifth have been funded and implemented.