International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene

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Feb 1st: Tackling antimicrobial resistance 2019–2024 The UK’s five-year national action plan emphasizes the role of the public .

On January 27th 2019 the UK government published a new pioneering 5 year national action plan (NAP) and 20 year vision for tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The NAP focuses on three key ways of tackling AMR as outlined in Fig 1:

  • reducing need for, and unintentional exposure to, antimicrobials;  
  • optimizing use of antimicrobials; 
  • investing in innovation, supply and access to antimicrobials

The new plan has strong focus on infection prevention and control including in the community. It states “Health and social care providers can only do so much to prevent infections; when it comes to acquiring and transmitting infections in the community (which requires exposure to antimicrobials), the public have a huge part to play”. 

Handwashing compliance is known to be poor, in both high and low-income settings. Globally, only 19% of people consistently wash their hands at key times. In the UK, most people know they should wash their hands but whether they do or not varies significantly

To promote better IPC practices among the public, it is proposed that the UK will: 

  • Develop more targeted interventions to improve behaviour around hand hygiene. 
  • Work with educators and local authorities to ensure all school leavers understand how to wash hands, prevent infections and use antimicrobials appropriately.
  • Survey public attitudes to and awareness of AMR and self-reported behaviours through new technologies, including social media; and use these to assess the impact of national public health campaigns and local awareness-raising activities.

The action plan features e-Bug (www.ebug.eu) as an evidence based resource to educate school children about infection prevention and highlights the need for all children to leave school with a basic understanding of AMR.