WHO sounds alarm on superbugs, asks patients to do their part

The World Health Organization is set to launch a worldwide call-to-action on World Health Day, April 7, that aims to raise awareness of antimicrobial resistant germs - superbugs resistant to modern medicine's arsenal of drugs used to treat them - and their dangers to the future of our health.

The theme of this year's World Health Day is "antimicrobial resistance: no action today, no cure tomorrow,” and the campaign highlights the importance of safeguarding medicines used to treat diseases from antimicrobial resistance. The WHO warns that antimicrobial resistance is one of the world’s most pressing health concerns - if the problem is not curbed, infectious diseases could become uncontrollable and we could revert back to a "pre-antibiotic era" of medical care.

One major culprit is the widespread overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotic drugs, states the WHO, and the campaign is targeting patients, healthcare providers, hospital administrators, and policymakers to do their part to help protect our health against potent diseases. Last year in the European Union alone, 25,000 people died due to resistant bacterial infections acquired in hospitals. 

The WHO is sending representatives to destinations all over the world on April 7 to meet with physicians, journalists, scientists, and government officials to discuss the problem. In addition, the organization is urging patients to step up and do their part to help the cause.

One way you can do your part as a patient, advises the WHO, is to never demand antibiotics or other medications when your physician advises against them. Also, never take medications prescribed for someone else, and if you doctor prescribes medication, do not skip doses and do not save any medications for the next time you or your child gets sick. Always take medications as directed and follow your doctor’s instructions.

Over the past years World Health Day has worked to raise awareness of global health issues such as maternal and child care, health and climate change, mental health, road safety, and last year’s theme, urbanization and health.

Find out more about what you can do to help the cause: http://www.cdc.gov/features/WorldHealthDay

Learn more about World Health Day:
http://www.who.int/world-health-day/2010/en/index.html
 

Watch a video on the issue: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LyFYjFFMAQ

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