World Antibiotic Awareness Week runs from 16-22 November.

By Drum Digital
19 November 2015

By Vida Li-Sik

The World Health Organisation aims to clear up confusion about Antibiotic Resistance and how to prevent it. Around 10 000 people were polled in a multi-country survey that showed a lack of awareness of how antibiotic resistance affects them and how to address it on a personal level. In South Africa, of the 1 002 online participants,   65% of respondents say they have taken antibiotics within the past six months; a higher proportion of people than any other country included in the survey; (93%) say their last course of antibiotics was prescribed or provided by a doctor or nurse, and 95% say they had advice from a medical professional on how to take them.

  • 87% of respondents know they should only stop taking antibiotics when they finish the course of treatment—a higher proportion than any other country included in the survey.
  • The same proportion (87%) of respondents—and again more than any other country in the survey—recognize that the statement “It’s OK to use antibiotics that were given to a friend of family member, as long as they were used to treat the same illness” is false. It is a practice which can encourage the development of resistance.

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