Serbia marks World Antibiotic Awareness Week
To mark World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) on 13–19 November 2017 and European Antibiotic Awareness Day on 18 November 2017, the Ministry of Health of Serbia announced that in 2016, the country’s antibiotic consumption had been reduced by 18%.
This good news was made public at a press conference on 17 November 2017. There, WHO Representative Dr Zsofia Pusztai addressed the media alongside Health Minister Dr Zlatibor Lončar and Head of the Institute of Public Health of Serbia Ms Verica Jovanović.
The Ministry of Health organized the event and promotional activities under the Second Serbia Health Project. The Project, funded by the World Bank, contributes to improving the efficiency and quality of the public health system.
Dr Pusztai warned that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is now one of the biggest threats to global health, food security and development. She made reference to statistics and findings of the third annual Central Asian and Eastern European Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance (CAESAR) report.
She further underscored one of the key messages of WAAW: everyone must handle antibiotics with care and play their role in controlling AMR.
Dr Pusztai also took the opportunity to congratulate the Ministry of Health for having recognized the importance of addressing AMR, for developing an action plan and for raising awareness. Under its biennial collaborative agreement with the Ministry, WHO has supported these activities and will continue to do so in the future.
Raising awareness among the local community
Medical and pharmacy students organized promotional activities to raise awareness in one of Belgrade’s shopping centres. Following the press conference, Dr Pusztai and Ms Jovanović visited the stand where promotional materials with Ministry of Health and WHO logos, such as mugs, T-shirts and brochures, were distributed to alert the local community and provide information on the rational use of antibiotics.