WHO Essential Medicines List Antibiotic released at the start of WAAW

Nov. 19, 2021

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) is celebrated from November 18- 24 every year. The 2021 theme, Spread Awareness, Stop Resistance, calls on One Health stakeholders, policymakers, healthcare providers, and the general public to be Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Awareness champions.

Inappropriate use of antibiotics is frequent in many settings and an important driver of antibiotic resistance. Easily accessible, evidence-based guidance from trusted sources is lacking for many common infectious syndromes in many countries, especially in low- and middle-income settings.

In 2015, the World Health Assembly adopted WHO’s “Global action plan on antimicrobial resistance” (WHA Resolution 68.7). The resolution requested WHO, international, regional and national partners to implement necessary actions in order to contribute to the accomplishment of the five objectives of the global action plan on antimicrobial resistance. Objective 4 of the global action plan is to optimize the use of antimicrobial medicines in human and animal health.

In response to this request, WHO has prepared a draft WHO Essential Medicines List Antibiotic Book. This publication provides information related to the prescribing and use of the antibiotics on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines for the empiric treatment of common infections in adults and children. The publication also includes brief information on epidemiology, common causative pathogens, diagnostic strategies and the impact of antimicrobial resistance on antibiotic selection.

The draft publication has been developed by an international expert working group of specialists in infectious diseases, antimicrobial resistance and public health. It reflects the recommendations for antibiotics made by the WHO Expert Committee on Selection and Use of Essential Medicines, including the AWaRe (Access-Watch-Reserve) classification of antibiotics. The draft publication is accompanied by a series of infographics for individual infectious syndromes and Reserve group antibiotics, intended to be a quick-reference, user-friendly and portable resource for clinicians to carry with them while seeing patients

The target audience of the publication and infographics includes all categories of healthcare providers prescribing and / or dispensing antibiotics (physicians in the outpatient and inpatient setting, dentists, nurses and nurse practitioners, pharmacists) both in the primary healthcare and the facility setting, developers of guidance documents, and procurement agencies.

The WHO EML antibiotic book is not intended to replace local or national guidelines but rather to supplement gaps in existing guidance documents and provide a resource for adaptation of guidance documents in line with WHO’s AWaRe classification.

WHO is also launching a public consultation to reach healthcare providers, government officials, civil society organizations, international organizations, research institutions, and interested citizens and stakeholders from all over the world to ensure that content of the publication is accurate, relevant and addresses the needs of the intended audience. Inputs collected during the public consultation will be considered in the revision and finalization of the publication and infographics. 

WHO release