Adopt AWaRe:

Handle antibiotics with care.


Superbug infections could cost the lives of around 2.4 million people in Europe, North America and Australia over the next 30 years if no action is taken (OECD).


In selected low- and middle-income countries, the proportion of resistant infections ranges from 40-60% compared to an average of 17% for OECD countries (OECD).


In 2015, there were 671,689 infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria recorded in the EU (The Lancet).

AWaRe is a useful tool to reduce antimicrobial resistance and ensure access.



Which indicates the antibiotic of choice for each of the 25 most common infections. These antibiotics should be available at all times, affordable and quality-assured.



Which includes most of the “highest-priority critically important antimicrobials” for human medicine and veterinary use. These antibiotics are recommended only for specific, limited indications



Antibiotics that should only be used as a last resort when all other antibiotics have failed.

The right antibiotic at the right time.

We can reduce or even reverse antibiotic resistance by using antibiotics more responsibly. But how do we do that and still ensure that patients are treated effectively? WHO has developed a tool to help global, regional and national decision-making on which antibiotics to use when.

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By 2023, 60% of all antibiotics consumed must come from Access - the group of antibiotics at lowest risk of resistance.

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We must act together with urgency.

What happens if we fail to tackle antimicrobial resistance?
  1. Prevent us from treating serious and even common infections

  2. Make surgery riskier

  3. Place mothers’ and their newborns’ lives at risk

  4. Deplete health resources.

Why should countries adopt AWaRe as a benchmark for optimal use?
  1. Public health gains – antibiotics, one of the best inventions of modern medicine, will keep working for human health

  2. Increased access, reduced costs – many of the antibiotics in the Access list are among those that are more affordable

  3. More responsible prescription and use – by increasing use of the Access list and reducing use of Watch and Reserve

  4. Preservation of critical antibiotics – by increasing use of the Access list and reducing use of Watch and Reserve

  5. Better therapeutic results – the AWaRe categories specify which antibiotics to use for specific syndromes, including when a laboratory diagnosis is not available

What can countries do to implement AWaRe?
  1. Monitor and report antibiotic use in community and hospitals using the AWaRe categories for evaluation, benchmarking and setting targets.

  2. Adopt the AWaRe index as part of national antibiotic stewardship programmes to improve access to essential antibiotics.

  3. Ensure local and national guidelines consider the WHO Essential Medicines List and apply the AWaRe categories in their recommendations for the optimal use of antibiotics.

  4. Incorporate the AWaRe categories into pre- and in-service training for health-care professionals.

  5. Monitor and report antibiotic use in the veterinary and agricultural fields according to the WHO list of medically important antimicrobials and the AWaRe categorization.

AWaRe Portal