Statement from Minister of Health on World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, November 18 to 24, 2022

November 18 to 24 is World Antimicrobial Awareness Week and this year’s theme is “Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together”.

Antimicrobial drugs, such as antibiotics, save lives – they are critical in treating serious and often life-threatening infections. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) can develop naturally over time, but can also be accelerated by inappropriate use of antimicrobial drugs in humans and animals.

AMR can affect anyone, at any age, in any country.

In Canada, it is estimated that more than 5,400 people die every year from infections caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria. AMR is an urgent and growing threat to global health that disproportionately affects marginalized communities and has widespread socio-economic impacts that cost our healthcare system $1.4 billion every year.

As a result of AMR, many of our medicines are becoming less effective. This means that common infections like strep throat could become more difficult to treat, result in more complications, and in some cases, become life threatening.

The hard-learned lessons of COVID-19 have demonstrated the importance of global readiness, collaboration, and equitable access to life-saving medicines for all. Like COVID-19, AMR requires united and coordinated action.

That is why we are working with partners at the local, regional, national, and global level to take increased and expedited action on AMR. Most recently, we announced our contribution of $300, 000 to support SECURE and our international partners to help expand access to essential, life-saving antibiotics for countries and populations in need, and ensuring their appropriate use.

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