Pharmacists and teachers team up to spread the word on antimicrobial resistance

An antimicrobial pharmacist in North Wales has teamed up with healthy school leads in Conwy and Denbighshire to deliver teaching sessions to primary school teachers to help ensure antibiotics continue to work for generations to come.

More than 30 teachers from primary schools across both counties took part in a pilot scheme to provide training on appropriate use of antibiotics.

By working with teachers, pharmacists hope they will help encourage children to understand why it’s important to use antibiotics correctly, to slow the progress of antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

Antimicrobial resistance is the increasing global risk of antibiotics failing to work. Factors such as overuse and incorrect prescribing have led to a rise in antibiotic-resistant organisms, which cause illnesses which cannot be effectively treated.

The result is the risk that antibiotics will stop working altogether, presenting a health risk to millions of people across the world.

Pharmacists and healthcare professionals continue to work hard to encourage appropriate use of antibiotics to ensure they continue to treat poorly people for as long as possible.

Antimicrobial Pharmacist Kailey Sassi-Jones, who led the four training sessions, said: “For the last ten years we’ve been working in partnership with GPs to improve prescribing rates in North Wales. Now we’re looking at different ways we can continue to share the messages which will help us tackle antimicrobial resistance.

“One of the ideas we had was to encourage teachers to share the messages in schools. By educating children in the later years of primary school, they can hopefully understand why work to prevent antimicrobial resistance is important, and share the advice they’ve picked up in school with their families.

“We had fantastic engagement and encouragement from the teachers who took part, and really hope they can help us to spread the word on how important appropriate use of antibiotics is.”

Antibiotics don’t work on viruses such as colds, flu and sore throats, and thousands of deaths are caused every year because some dangerous bacteria has become resistant to antibiotics, which means they may not work when you really need them.

Advice from pharmacists includes ensuring antibiotics are only used by the person they are prescribed for, and ensuring full courses are completed, even when the user seems to be feeling better.

Kailey said: “The training was delivered using the e-Bug website, which is a NICE accredited resource to teach children about appropriate use of antibiotics.

“We’ve previously been working directly in schools, but by teaming up with teachers, we hope to spread the message about appropriate antibiotic use to a much wider audience.”

Information on the resources available for teachers and school children can be found on the e-Bug website