Hungary engages people of all ages in World Antibiotic Awareness Week

Budapest Medical Students’ Association

“Wash your Hands” campaign with kindergarten children in Budapest

Hungary observed World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) with a series of activities that involved policy-makers, service providers, health experts, medical students, journalists and the public.

The WHO Country Office collaborated closely with the Department of Hospital Hygiene and Communicable Disease Control of the State Ministry for Health under the Ministry of Human Capacities. It also worked with a number of partners, including professional and student associations and a health advocates group.

Association of Hungarian Primary Care Paediatricians examines antibiotic use

WAAW activities started on 10 November 2017 with the 23rd National Conference on Professional Policy, held in Budapest by the Association of Hungarian Primary Care Paediatricians. The Conference brought together primary care paediatricians from all over Hungary to present the results of the national survey PRO JUNIOR – Examining the Side Effects of Treating Children with Antibiotics.

The survey’s main goals are to improve the regulatory framework of antibiotic use in Hungary and to call public attention to the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). It also aims at refining standard practices in paediatric care, updating and enhancing professional guidelines, and elaborating nationwide health prevention programmes for children.

In addition to national data, Dr Danilo Lo Fo Wong, Programme Manager of AMR at WHO/Europe, provided an overview of the WHO Global action plan on AMR.

Budapest Medical Students’ Association mobilizes volunteers

WAAW continued with a set of events organized by the Budapest Medical Students’ Association that mobilized 40 volunteers. On 13–19 November, the volunteers approached different target groups to raise awareness and provide information.

The volunteers visited kindergartens to share a special edition of Teddy Bear Hospital. About 50 children learned about the spread of an infection by shaking hands and playing after dyeing their palms with different colours. This game was followed by a lesson on the technique of proper handwashing.

The volunteers reached out to the adult non-professional population with a successful appearance in the Campona Shopping Centre in Budapest on 18 November, a busy Saturday. Volunteers talked to individuals and families about AMR, distributed handouts written for non-professionals, provided hand disinfectant samples and stickers for children about handwashing, and gave a quiz with 6 questions about the proper use of antibiotics.

A photo campaign also invited those who approached the stand to have their photo taken (with written consent) holding boards with related hashtags and quotes.

The volunteers reached out to medical students through a poster exhibition at Semmelweis University in Budapest, which was followed by a quiz on the status of AMR that focused on the European situation and the photo campaign. The goal was to underline the significance of AMR and the severity of the problem, and to highlight the importance of proper antibiotic use.

Social media campaign reaches 125 000 people

A health advocates group composed of 21 Hungarian women with outstanding achievements in health and education launched a social media campaign that targeted parents of children aged 0–18 years on Facebook with WHO’s WAAW videos.

The campaign reached more than 125 000 people in Hungary as well as other countries. Of these people:

  • 75% were women;
  • 36% were women aged 25–44 years; and
  • 15% were men aged 35–64 years.

The 2 most popular videos were about handwashing and influenza.

Scientific meeting marks European Antibiotic Awareness Day 2017

On 20 November, the Ministry of Human Capacities’ Department of Hospital Hygiene and Communicable Disease Control held a scientific meeting entitled “Let’s keep antibiotics working!”  About 100 representatives of infectious disease units from all over Hungary, including clinicians, epidemiologists, laboratory experts and service managers, attended the meeting.

An overview of the AMR situation in Europe and Hungary was followed by discussions about antibiotic stewardship, tackling AMR in veterinary medicine, and characteristics of antibiotic consumption in Hungary over the last 5 years.