Last updated: 1 Apr 2021

Antimicrobials: Handle with Care - World Antimicrobial Awareness Week


United in the One Health approach to protect antimicrobials and preserve their efficacy

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) takes place each year from 18 to 24 November. This year, the theme is “Antimicrobials: Handle with Care”. The OIE has produced a wide range of communication tools, including many translated for regional use. The Regional Tripartite has also produced videos to raise awareness of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) issues.

This year, WAAW marks a pivotal change to expand from antibiotics to be inclusive of all antimicrobials, cumulating in the first World Antimicrobial Awareness Week. The OIE has a head start as it has participated to promote the prudent and responsible use of antimicrobials during previous years, and we welcome the change to strengthen the global One Health conversation about antimicrobials.

Special themes

The OIE animal health specific theme for WAAW 2020 is “United to Protect Antimicrobials”. Each stakeholder has a role to play in protecting the efficacy of antimicrobials by using them responsibly and prudently in the animal health sector.

On the final day of WAAW 2020, 24 November, the Tripartite will communicate at the global level on the theme of One Health and the impact of AMR. The special theme for this day is “AMR in the One Health context”.

Regional Activities

Members’ activities (New: 4/1/2021)


OIE Key Messages for WAAW 2020

  • Antimicrobials are essential medicines in animal health; together we can protect their ability to fight infection by using them responsibly. #UnitedtoProtect
  • Each country needs to make the commitment to ensure antimicrobials are used prudently and responsibly by applying the OIE international Standards, guidelines and surveillance practices in national legislation for the global harmonization.
  • Inappropriate use of antimicrobials exacerbates selection of naturally occurring resistance microorganisms and is therefore clearly a driver for the emergence of resistant strains of known diseases to the medicines we have to treat them.
  • Veterinary Services are the powerbrokers. They can harness the resources provided by the OIE to build their national communication campaign to create behaviour change and protect antimicrobials from resistance.
  • Veterinarians are champions in protecting antimicrobials’ availability and efficacy in their practice. The OIE list of antimicrobial agents of veterinary importance should be implemented as best practices by well-trained veterinarians and animal health professionals.

AMR Communications Tools

The OIE has prepared a number of resources to support awareness campaigns (see links below). These include: posters, stakeholder leaflets, media engagement leaflet, farmer’s infographic, social media squares and GIFs, web banners and video. The tripartite (FAO, OIE and WHO) has also developed many materials which are shared on the Tripartite Trello Board.

Further resources