Africa regional strategy on antimicrobial resistance communications and advocacy
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when germs, including bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to antimicrobials – antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals and antiparasitic agents – making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death. Antimicrobial resistant germs are found in people, animals, food, plants and the environment (in water, soil and air). They can spread from person to person or between people and animals,including from food of animal origin. While AMR occurs naturally over time, usually through genetic changes, the main drivers of AMR include the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials in human health and agriculture; lack of access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for both humans and animals; poor infection and disease prevention and control in healthcare facilities and farms; poor access to quality, affordable medicines, vaccines and diagnostics; lack of awareness and knowledge; and weak enforcement of legislation. Minimizing the emergence and spread of AMR requires a coordinated, focused multisectoral and multinational effort.