The key role of nurses in combating the urgent global health problem of Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) must be highlighted during Antibiotic Awareness Week.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified AMR as an increasingly serious threat to global public health that requires whole of government and cross-sectoral action. AMR threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections and increases the cost of health care with lengthier stays in hospitals and more intensive care required.
Health care costs globally may increase from between $300 billion to more than $1 trillion per year by 2050 due to AMR.
“As the largest proportion of the health workforce in Australia and having the most patient contact, nurses play a pivotal role in the fight against antimicrobial resistance,” explained Australian College of Nursing CEO, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN.
Nurses can have significant impact in all health settings, including in residential aged care facilities, where the lack of an on-site doctor, combined with pressure from family members can often result in inappropriate treatment.
“Nurses are integral to much of the health care delivered in Australia and thus have a key role to play in safeguarding antibiotics’ effectiveness for future generations. Nurses are involved in most aspects of the prevention and control of AMR, including through patient education, infection prevention and control, monitoring of antibiotic use, prescribing and the development of organisational policies. Engagement with nurses is an important factor in addressing the emerging threat of AMR,” said Adjunct Professor Ward.
For interviews, please contact Kristen Connell on 0400 054 227.
1 WHO, Fact Sheet, Sept 2016.
2 The World Bank, ‘By 2050, drug resistant infections could cause global economic damage on par with 2008 financial crisis’, Media Release, 20 Sept 2016.
3 Maria A Smith, ‘Antibiotic resistance’, (2005) 40(1) Nursing Clinics of North America 63.