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WAAW blog: Reflections from the UK Paediatric Antimicrobial Stewardship (UK PAS) Group 

 

 

Dr Alicia Demirjian, Clinical Lead, Antimicrobial Resistance & Prescribing (AMRP) Section, UKHSA, Chair of UK PAS 

Happy World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2023. For us in the UK Paediatric Antimicrobial Stewardship network (a group of doctors, pharmacists, and other colleagues interested in improving antibiotic use in children and young people), it has been another productive year advocating for better health for the next generation. 

 

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting changes in social mixing presented specific infection-related challenges in children and young people, particularly around unusual surges in group A Streptococcus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and other respiratory infections, and cases of severe hepatitis of unclear cause. 

 

UK-PAS has risen to the challenge and we are thrilled to share some of our achievements: 

  • monthly webinars and yearly workshops – check our website for more information 
  • a UK PAS guideline aiming to harmonise paediatric antimicrobial use nationally, which is regularly updated 
  • a suite of clinical pathways to support front line clinicians, with accompanying e-learning modules 
  • targeted messages in this year’s Antibiotic Guardian campaign 
  • advocacy work resulting in a strong paediatric representation in this year’s national point-prevalence survey in healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial resistance in England; the UKHSA publication of its first health protection reports focusing on paediatric antimicrobial resistance 

 

We are grateful for BSAC’s support of our activities, and would like to share some reflections and requests from our group: 

 

To children and young people, their families and carers: 

Look after yourself and follow your clinician’s advice to help us all use antibiotics wisely. Get curious about antimicrobial resistance and spread the word on how we can stop its spread. Speak to your medical team if you have any questions about the medications you are on and how this might relate to antimicrobial resistance. 

 

To health professionals: 

Take the time to listen to patients and their families. Your advice is often the most trusted information they can access. Be mindful of the support they are seeking for minor infections, this is often reassurance. 

 

To policy makers: 

Include children and young people in your decisions. They spread infections differently. They need different doses of medicines, different metrics to measure health improvements, and different communication strategies. 

 

To everyone, because we all have a role in using antimicrobials wisely: 

  • Clean hands save lives. 
  • Vaccines save lives. 
  • Antibiotics save lives – let’s use them wisely so they keep working.