Health Minister Dr David Clark is encouraging school children in years five to eight to fight germs as part of a nationwide poster competition about antibiotic resistance.
“Antibiotics are essential for treating bacterial infections,” Dr Clark says.
“Antibiotic resistance stops an antibiotic from working effectively against bacteria – meaning some infections may become very difficult to treat. New Zealand has comparatively low rates of antibiotic resistance compared with some countries. We need to keep these essential medicines working for us, in homes and hospitals.”
The competition encourages students to create a poster highlighting either antibiotic resistance or hand washing.
The idea is to help them learn about simple hand hygiene – washing hands with soap and water, or using hand sanitiser – and why this is important to stop the spread of germs that cause infections.
“Students will also learn about antibiotics and how they only work against bacteria – not viruses, which cause colds and the flu,” Dr Clark says.
“It’s important to have a shared, community-wide understanding of antibiotic resistance and the sorts of things we can all do to help fight this global issue.”
The winning posters will be used to promote Patient Safety Week (which has a focus on hand hygiene to stop the spread of infections) from 4–10 November and World Antibiotic Awareness Week from 12–18 November.
The national competition is a joint Health Quality & Safety Commission, Ministry of Health and ACC initiative.
The poster competition is open now and closes on Friday 28 September 2018.
See the Health Quality & Safety Commission website for the poster competition information pack: https://www.hqsc.govt.nz/our-programmes/patient-safety-week/publications-and-resources/publication/3415/.