ZIMBABWE—The Government of Zimbabwe has announced that it will host this year’s continental celebration of World Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Awareness Week (WAAW) 2023 in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Antimicrobials, which include antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, and antiparasitics, are drugs used to prevent and treat infections in humans, animals, and plants, but their abuse and misuse is the primary cause of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) threatens the efficient prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses, and fungi.

AMR occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medications, making infections more difficult to cure and raising the risk of disease spread, severe illness, and death.

As a result, the medications become ineffective, and infections stay in the body, increasing the risk of transmission to others.

AMR is a multifaceted global concern that has been labeled a “silent pandemic” and is ranked by the World Health Organization as one of the top ten global public health threats to humanity in the twenty-first century.

Globally, an estimated 1.3 million people die directly as a result of bacterial AMR each year, and if no action is taken, this figure might soar.

This is expected to increase public health, economic, and social expenses while pushing more people into poverty, particularly in low-income nations.

To protect the planet’s health, more coordination, political leadership, interdisciplinary and multisectoral focused activities by the entire society are required.

This event will bring together the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH).

The event will also be supported by African Union institutions, including the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU IBAR), as well as the Zimbabwean government.

The continental event is set to begin on November 18, 2023, and will bring together a diverse range of major participants and stakeholder organizations.

High-level policy and decision-makers from Member States, Regional Economic Communities, the One Health Community, development partners, and corporate partners will attend this continental event.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations, academia, research institutes, research centers, and members of the general public will also be present.

The Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development of Zimbabwe, H.E Hon Dr A.J Masuka, is expected to officially launch the week-long event on Monday, 20 November 2023, at the Harare International Convention Center (HICC) at 9.00am.

The Zimbabwean government will also hold a signing ceremony for the Zimbabwe Antimicrobial Resistance National Action Plan (NAP) during the inaugural ceremony.

The Quadripartite Organizations and the Africa Union Task Force on AMR are collaborating in a One Health approach to plan this year’s event and transform the subject matter into action.

This year’s theme is “Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together,” emphasizing the necessity of collective action in addressing the global health crisis of antibiotic resistance.

These celebrations will involve the coordination of campaigns at both the national and continental levels, as well as the participation of numerous stakeholders from around the world.

During the WAAW, there will also be media briefings and press conferences, a ‘global café’ debate on AMR and proper use, and an engagement with high school students on AMR awareness, including a small football tournament.

The WAAW will also feature a high-level panel discussion on AMR’s environmental components, policy dialogues on accelerating progress in African countries in the implementation of AMR National Action Plans, AMR One Health multisectoral collaboration and governance, and AMR One Health multisectoral collaboration and governance.

The program will also include a discussion of AMR in aquaculture, as well as laboratory and field tours of the BOLAV Vaccine Production Unit, a BOLVAC Theileriosis Vaccination hotspot, and a Farmer Field School farm.

The World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) is an annual global event that strives to raise awareness and knowledge of the difficulties faced by antimicrobial resistance while encouraging best practices in antimicrobial stewardship in public health, animal health, and the environment.

WAAW serves as a platform for stakeholder collaboration in the battle against the establishment and spread of AMR.

It is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness and advocate for AMR risk reduction actions across industries.

This event will also highlight continental solidarity and portray Africa as the leading region in the fight against AMR, while repeating essential messages to produce more collective policy direction and support for the progress of AMR risk reduction programs.

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