Raising awareness of antimicrobial resistance

Posted on January 28, 2020   by Amy Sterling

In 2019, Microbiology Society Champions Amy Sterling and Chris Proctor took over the University of Ulster's Twitter account to support World Antibiotics Awareness Week. Here, they discuss what they did and why it is important to raise awareness of antimicrobial resistance in a variety of formats.

What is World Antibiotics Awareness Week?

World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) is a campaign celebrated worldwide each November by governments, schools and health facilities. The effort aims to promote education on antibiotics, supporting their proper use, and outlines the threat of antimicrobial resistance.

Our event:

My fellow Microbiology Society Champion, Chris Proctor, and I wanted to support WAAW 2019 by running a social media campaign. We were grateful that our department at Ulster University allowed us to use their Twitter page as the platform on which to run our campaign. The campaign was aimed at all ages, and consisted of daily tweets featuring eye catching infographics, and links to further information on antibiotics and antibiotic resistance if readers were interested.

© Ulster University

Tweet infographic from the fifth day of our campaign.

During the week we also ran a competition in the form of a quiz. This was, of course, a bit of fun but was also useful for readers to see how much they knew about antibiotics and antibiotic resistance. It also allowed for them to gauge how much they were learning from WAAW as a whole.

The quiz was multiple choice and participants answered questions on different subjects surrounding antibiotics. For example, one of the questions asked if they knew antibiotics do not work on viruses, and another if they were aware, they shouldn’t share antibiotics. We really wanted to help improve awareness and the understanding of antibiotic and antibiotic resistance with this campaign and we are so thankful to the Microbiology Society for sponsoring the competition prizes.

© Ulster University

The campaign aimed to target some of the common misconceptions about antibiotics.

We were pleased both our campaign and quiz attracted a wide audience; we even had some participants as young as 13 years old! At the end of the week we were able to offer 11 individuals prizes, including Amazon vouchers, giant microbes and copies of microbiology non-fiction books. Most of the winners were UK based but we had one winner in Ontario and another in Chicago – the power of social media!