Lessons Learnt During 20 Years of the Swedish Strategic Programme Against Antibiotic Resistance (Bull World Health Organ 2017;95:764–773)
(2017; 10 pages)


Increasing use of antibiotics and rising levels of bacterial resistance to antibiotics are a challenge to global health and development. Successful initiatives for containing the problem need to be communicated and disseminated. In Sweden, a rapid spread of resistant pneumococci in the southern part of the country triggered the formation of the Swedish strategic programme against antibiotic resistance, also known as Strama, in 1995. The creation of the programme was an important starting point for long-term coordinated efforts to tackle antibiotic resistance in the country. This paper describes the main strategies of the programme: committed work at the local and national levels; monitoring of antibiotic use for informed decision-making; a national target for antibiotic prescriptions; surveillance of antibiotic resistance for local, national and global action; tracking resistance trends; infection control to limit spread of resistance; and communication to raise awareness for action and behavioural change. A key element for achieving long-term changes has been the bottom-up approach, including working closely with prescribers at the local level. The work described here and the lessons learnt could inform countries implementing their own national action plans against antibiotic resistance.

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