Resources for antibiotic awareness

New Zealand resources

Resources to support World Antimicrobial Awareness Week

Each year the New Zealand Antimicrobial Stewardship and Infection Pharmacist Expert Group launches a campaign and resources to support World Antimicrobial Awareness Week. In 2022 the campaign, supported by Manatū Hauora, is an Antibiotic Amnesty and encouraging people to return unused or old antibiotics to their pharmacy for safe disposal.

More information and resources supporting this campaign


These videos can be shared to promote World Antibiotic Awareness Week. If you would like access to the video file (eg, for use in waiting rooms), email us.

[Ian Town to camera]

Well just what exactly is antimicrobial resistance?

The key thing to remember is it’s not related to individual behaviour or resistance developing in humans themselves.

The resistance actually develops in the bugs themselves.

[John Roche to camera]

It’s not quite 100 years since Professor Alexander Fleming made his serendipitous discovery that a spot of mould in an agar plate prevented the growth of bacteria.

And yet, in the ensuing century the discovery has saved countless lives and added decades to our life expectancy.

And yet, here we are, less than a hundred years later at risk of losing it all – of returning to a world that predates antimicrobials because of their ineffectiveness in treating common conditions.

[Juliet Gerrard to camera]

So this isn’t just a problem in Aotearoa New Zealand, it’s a global problem.

It’s been highlighted as one of the top ten global threats by the World Health Organization and there’s huge evidence indices out there from places like the World Bank really supporting that this is a major global issue.

[Souixsie Wiles to camera]

So, what can we do about it?

Well, learning about antimicrobial resistance and talking to our friends and family about it is really important.

If your doctor prescribes you antibiotics, ask them - are following the latest guidelines?

If they don’t prescribe antibiotics, well trust them, you don’t need them.

Remember antibiotics don’t work against viruses.

[Ian Town to camera]

So our doctors and nurses and other prescribers across New Zealand are really well aware of the need to use antibiotics wisely.

[John Roche to camera]

We need to handle these antimicrobials with care.

I’m really worried about what the future’s going to be like without antimicrobial agents like antibiotics.

It’s going to be like turning the clock back a hundred years - common infections will become deadly again and things like surgery will be really risky.

So, what can we do about it?

Well, learning about antimicrobial resistance and talking to our friends and family about it is really important.

If your doctor prescribes you antibiotics, ask them if they are following the latest guidelines?

If they don’t prescribe antibiotics, then trust them, you don’t need them.

Remember antibiotics don’t work against viruses.

Antimicrobial resistance is when organisms like bacteria develop a resistance to the medicines that we usually use to treat them.

And that causes a problem because then those medicines are less effective and sometimes completely ineffective at treating diseases caused by those organisms.

The research community is constantly look at how we can create more antibiotics, but antibiotics are actually very technically difficult to make and we're not making that many, and so we really can't rely on new antibiotics being developed in time in order to match the growing resistance that we're seeing across the world.

So what we need to do is much more careful with the use of the antibiotics that we do have in place.

In some parts of the world we're already seeing a significant impact where diseases like TB are no longer able to be treated by the standard medicines that we've used for some years and so diseases we're literally running out of antibiotics that we can use to treat those diseases.

And we're seeing some of that in New Zealand.

New Zealand is part of a global community, we've got people who travel both to and from New Zealand.

So what's happening in the rest of the world affects us equally and it's up to us to do our part as well.

So we in New Zealand have developed our own action plan.

We've taken guidance from the World Health Organisation and other entities across the world, in terms of what are the priorities that we need to address.

Our action plan was released earlier this year and we're working through the different areas of focus in that action plan.

One of the key areas of focus is raising awareness and understanding about what antimicrobial resistance is and a key message there is around the use of antibiotics, the appropriate use of antibiotics so that we don't overuse antibiotics.

Other areas that we're working on in the action plan is our links with the veterinary world and use of antibiotics for animals and so we're working very closely with the Ministry for Primary Industries because it's not just what happens in health that's important, it's actually the use of antibiotics both for animals and also use of other antimicrobials in the plant world.

I think it's a significant challenge, I think we all have to play our part.

I think that research and surveillance is a really important part of that so that we develop a much better understanding of what's actually happening in New Zealand, we need to be aware of that.

We do need to be very careful about how we use our antibiotics, I think that's something that we can do here and now and I think if we all work together as we are doing and as we're doing across the world, then I think we will be up for to face the challenge.

View more antibiotic awareness videos on the Ministry of Health's Youtube channel

Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor resources

The Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor has developed an information sheet on antimicrobial resistance, endorsed by the Science Advisory Network.

Royal Society Te Apārangi-produced resources

Royal Society Te Apārangi has produced these antimicrobial resistance awareness resources.

Contact Nancy de Bueger at Royal Society Te Apārangi for any questions about reusing these resources.

Video title: Antibiotic awareness - A nurses role - Hilary Graham-Smith

So nurses are front-line health professionals, so they engage with patients and whanau all the time in a whole range of different settings and around a whole lot of different conditions.

So that means they're really well placed to provide education and support for patients about antibiotics and making sure that they have a good understanding of their treatment.

[Image of antibiotics container tipped on it's side for pills spilling out]

They'd be having a conversation about what vaccines are available, so for instance the flu vaccine, having that conversation about how useful that can be in stopping you getting influenza.

But also having the conversation about bacteria versus viruses, which are the commons causes of colds and flus. And describing the differences and the different ways managing those things.

[Image of a person cleaning their hands at a basin]

Not rushing off to the doctor with a cold or flu and asking for antibiotics in the first instance and doing simple things like thorough hand washing to prevent the spread of infection, covering the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing and being really careful to dispose of tissues in the waste bin.

Covering cuts and keeping them clean is a good way to avoid infection too.

[Closeup image of an antibiotics pill packet]

Telling patients that they musn't share them with other people and that the should report any side effects like skin rashes or an upset stomach.

Everyone needs to think about doing their part to reduce antibiotic resistance.

International resources

World Health Organization (WHO) resources

In recent years, WHO has produced a number of resources (posters, infographics, social media images, videos, animated GIFs, etc) to help promote World Antibiotic Awareness Week. These are publicly available for use from the WHO website.

Public Health England

e-bug: Games and teaching resources about microbes and antibiotics

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