The Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care (AFMC) has launched a statewide antibiotic stewardship and infection prevention collaborative to address the increasing dangers resulting from multiple drug-resistance organisms.
The 12-month grant, funded by the Arkansas Department of Health, will support pharmacists at Arkansas hospitals and nursing homes in their efforts to reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions and to improve infection prevention related to patient transitions between health care facilities. The collaborative includes 37 hospitals and 21 nursing homes across Arkansas. The collaboration announcement coincides with the U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week Nov. 12-16, 2018.
“At least 30 percent of the antibiotics in outpatient settings are prescribed unnecessarily,” said Chad Rodgers, MD, FAAP, chief medical officer for AFMC. “Any time antibiotics are used, they can cause side effects and lead to antibiotic resistance, one of the most urgent threats to the public’s health.”
Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. It does not mean the body is becoming resistant to antibiotics; it means bacteria mutate and antibiotics are no longer effective.
Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die as a direct result. Many more die from complications from antibiotic-resistant infections.
“Antibiotics can save lives and are critical tools for treating many common and more serious infections, like those that can lead to sepsis – a potentially deadly blood infection,” Dr. Rodgers added. “Improving the way health care professionals prescribe antibiotics and educating consumers about how and when to take antibiotics, helps keep everyone healthy. Exercising stewardship about antibiotics will help ensure that these lifesaving drugs will be available for future generations.”
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