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25 Nov 2022

Important guidance resource for Western Pacific Region developed by WHO Collaborating Centre for Antimicrobial Resistance

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO) to pose a major and rapidly growing threat to public health globally.

The overuse and misuse of antimicrobials impacts the effectiveness and sustainability of modern medicine against the enduring threat of infectious diseases.

It results in prolonged illness, disability and death, and also increases the cost of health care, with lengthier stays in hospital and the requirement for more intensive care. Without effective antimicrobials for the prevention and treatment of infections, medical procedures such as organ transplantation, cancer chemotherapy and major surgery (for example, caesarean sections or hip replacements) become very high risk.

As a designated WHO Collaborating Centre for Antimicrobial Resistance, we are delighted to share that a WHO guidance document has recently been published, “Responding to outbreaks of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens in health-care facilities: guidance for the Western Pacific region”. In collaboration with the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific (WPRO), this is a key guidance resource for dealing with AMR outbreaks in hospital settings, to which team members from the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity are the primary contributors.

This document is the result of extensive work by the authors and ties in with the work the WHO Collaborating Centre for AMR aims to do, particularly around our activity themes of Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) and Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS).

Front cover of the guidance document
Front cover of the guidance document

The intended purpose of this guide can be broken down into three distinct areas:

  1. To act as a step-by-step guide for health-care facilities (HCFs) to respond to AMR outbreaks;
  2. To be a practical resource for health-care workers (HCWs) or public health officers to utilise to support AMR outbreak response in low- and middle-income countries; and
  3. To provide practical support to implement effective AMR outbreak response policies and procedures in clinical settings.

“This document not only aims to provide practical steps and advice for how to respond when an AMR outbreak is detected but, equally importantly, outlines how to strengthen IPC and AMS programs to include AMR prevention strategies.” say Donna Cameron, Infection Control Consultant with the Doherty Institute and one of the contributing authors for this resource.

Dr Takeshi Nishijima, Technical Officer, Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), WHO WPRO notes that “Member States have requested this guidance document, since there has been no such practical step-by-step guidance targeting low- and middle-income countries. WHO has started supporting capacity building for AMR outbreak response at hospital settings in the Western Pacific Region using this guidance and this guidance could have not been published without support of our colleagues from Doherty Institute.”


Responding to outbreaks of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens in health-care facilities: guidance for the Western Pacific region” is now available for use by stakeholders in the region via the WHO website.