Groups Join CDC to Push Smart Use of Antibiotics

Did you know this is Get Smart About Antibiotics Week? The annual event of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a wide array of partners around the association space and elsewhere. Here's what a few are doing to raise our antibiotics IQ.

Antibiotics are no joke—and for years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has made that point through its annual Get Smart About Antibiotics Week, going on now through November 20.

Why the need for such a week? Because widespread antibiotic overuse  blunts the the drugs’ effectiveness in the long run.

“The use of antibiotics is the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance around the world,” the CDC says on its website. “Antibiotics are among the most commonly prescribed drugs used in human medicine. However, up to 50 percent of all the antibiotics prescribed for people are not needed or are not optimally effective as prescribed. Antibiotics are also commonly used for promoting growth in food animals, one type of use that is not necessary.”

The CDC is out front with its message, but it’s not alone. Just a few of the associations and nonprofits taking part in Get Smart About Antibiotics Week:

California Medical Association Foundation: The foundation is using the week to draw attention to its Alliance Working for Antibiotic Resistance Education (AWARE) program. Since 2001, the program has been working to discourage overprescribing of antibiotics, boost consumer awareness of the effects of overuse, and encourage community action. “Project AWARE has been hugely successful in reducing the unnecessary use of antibiotics and reducing the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in California, and is an example of the important work the CMA Foundation does to protect public health,” CMA President Lisa Folberg said in a news release.

National Patient Safety Foundation: On Monday, the foundation held a webinar featuring speakers from the CDC and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists to help healthcare organizations understand the risks of antibiotic overuse. “We are very pleased to be partnering with the CDC in this important work,” Dr. Tejal K. Gandhi, NPSF’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “Antibiotic resistance is a serious threat in hospitals and health settings, but also in our communities. Education is a key part of turning this problem around.”

National Pork Board: It’s not just health organizations that are helping to get the word out. The National Pork Board, which represents pig farmers, is using the week to draw attention to its Pork Quality Assurance Plus program, which (among other things) encourages careful use of antibiotic drugs in an agricultural setting. “As pig farmers, we are aware of the challenge of antibiotic resistance and are dedicated to working hard to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics, both on the farm and in human medicine,” National Pork Board President Jan Archer said in a news release.

Other partners active in this week’s events can be found on the CDC website.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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