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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 1867-1871

Communication strategies for improving public awareness on appropriate antibiotic use: Bridging a vital gap for action on antibiotic resistance

1 ReAct Asia Pacific and Department of Community Medicine, Pushpagiri Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Thiruvalla, Kerala, India
2 ReAct Asia Pacific, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
3 ReAct Asia Pacific and Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Philip Mathew
Pushpagiri Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Thiruvalla, Kerala - 689 101
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_263_19

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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is now a global public health issue and is projected to affect the longevity of people and increase health expenditure of countries. Its impact is going to be higher in low-middle income countries as the healthcare systems are suboptimal and ill-equipped to deal with the issue. As antibiotic misuse is the primary driver for AMR, there is an acute need to create awareness among general public regarding antibiotic misuse. This calls for a comprehensive communication strategy, which takes into account the various drivers of AMR and the solutions associated with it. In the short term, the focus of communication strategies can be on raising awareness in specific interest groups. It can help in channeling limited resources to achieve specific objectives for raising awareness among these groups, thereby improving the chances of behavior change. The general public can be targeted at a later stage or as a second phase with definite strategies and messages. But, it is erroneous to assume that a higher level of awareness will translate into a positive change in behavior. We propose that behavior change is the final fruit of a long and dynamic process. This process should rest on four pillars: adequate awareness, robust regulatory environment, emotional or material incentives, and an enabling social structure. Unless all these domains are satisfactorily addressed, the communication strategy will not be able to bring about a discernible change in behavior in terms of antibiotic use.

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