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Dear Colleagues, This week (November 14-20) is National Antibiotic Awareness Week, coordinated by the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Canada, and other national organizations. It is a week that Canada now shares with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's "Get Smart About Antibiotics Week", and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control's "European Antibiotic Awareness Day".
Why the fuss about antibiotics? Because experts believe that the majority of prescribed antibiotics are unnecessary, and this unnecessary use has resulted in the superbugs we now contend with hospitals.
Here at UHN, we have been working to keep our patients safe for years with strategies led by Infection Prevention and Control, but carried out by all of you every moment of every day. This includes our focus on washing our hands, keeping our hospitals clean and a variety of other strategies including the drive to get the right antibiotics—when they are needed and only when needed. We started our Antimicrobial Stewardship Program (ASP) two years ago to ensure that our patients get the best and safest care possible, and we are now a national leader in the field. The ASP team includes pharmacists and physicians and other team members. Here at UHN, we recently committed more resources to this program to make our hospitals even safer places.
This week, take a moment to consider if you might be able to improve how you use antibiotics and make UHN a safer place.