WHO/Europe launches online course for clinicians on prescribing and using antibiotics wisely

WHO/A. Kristensen

Testing for antimicrobial susceptibility provides vital information to clinicians and guides decisions about patient treatment.

WHO/Europe has launched a newly developed online course that aims to equip clinicians with the information they need to prescribe antibiotics appropriately and wisely. This free course, titled “Antimicrobial stewardship: A competency-based approach”, is available via the OpenWHO platform.

While enrolment is open to anyone, the course is particularly relevant for clinicians who frequently prescribe antibiotics. The discovery of these life-saving drugs is among the most important advances of medicine in the 20th century. However, data increasingly shows widespread misuse of antimicrobials across all health-care settings. This misuse contributes to the emergence of multidrug-resistant organisms, which threaten to undermine the effectiveness of antibiotics.

“Antimicrobial stewardship” refers to interventions designed to promote the optimal use of antibiotic agents, including drug choice, dosing, route and duration of administration. In order to preserve the utility of these life-saving drugs and stop antimicrobial resistance, all clinicians must become stewards of antimicrobials by prescribing them appropriately and educating their patients and colleagues on the proper use of this increasingly scarce medical resource.

Approaching clinical scenarios through the lens of stopping antimicrobial resistance

The new online course provides a framework for approaching each clinical encounter from the perspective of combating antimicrobial resistance. Using case-based examples, it highlights how antimicrobial stewardship principles can be applied to common clinical scenarios.

The course, which lasts approximately 8 hours, consists of 14 modules. It first reviews the foundational clinical knowledge necessary to use antimicrobials wisely (modules A–E). The remaining modules (F–N) illustrate how clinicians can incorporate this knowledge into their daily work. By the end of the course, participants should be able to understand core competencies of antimicrobial stewardship and how they can be applied. A confirmation of participation is issued to those who have completed at least 80% of the course material.

About OpenWHO

OpenWHO is WHO’s interactive, web-based platform that offers online courses to people preparing to work in epidemics, pandemics and health emergencies or already doing so. The OpenWHO platform delivers WHO’s and partners’ expertise closer to where it is needed and provides information in user-friendly formats for frontline responders and decision-makers.