Tuesday, September 15, 2015

UK drafts Guidelines for changing public behaviour to reduce antibiotic resistance

Contributed by Siddarth David and Dr. Tamhankar

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the UK last week released its draft guidelines aimed at the general population in order to address the challenge on antimicrobial resistance in the country. The statutory body has drafted these guidelines complimenting the guidelines on antibiotic stewardship which were published last month to be implemented in the UK.

The draft guidelines which are open for public consultation, emphasize the need for public awareness to reduce risk-related behaviours among the general public. It reports that basic hygiene guidance such as hand-washing can reduce majority of infectious diseases like cough and cold which account for one-fifth of the days lost at work in the UK rather than depend on antibiotics for treatment. 

The draft guidelines also state that when people seek medical advice for self-limiting conditions, they should be told how they could treat their symptoms themselves and explained why they are not being prescribed antibiotics. The draft guidelines are commendable in having recognized that the patient and the public at large also have an important role to play in tackling antibiotic resistance. Once finalized it could be used as advocacy tool for other countries across the world to push for robust policies on the issue. 

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