The WHO essential medicines list AWaRe book: from a list to a quality improvement system

Michael Sharland, Veronica Zanichelli, Loice Achieng Ombajo, Joel Bazira, Bernadette Cappello, Ronald Chitatanga, Pem Chuki, Sumanth Gandra, Haileyesus Getahun, Stephan Harbarth, Mark Loeb, Marc Mendelson, Lorenzo Moja, Celine Pulcini, Hatim Sati, Evelina Tacconelli, Mei Zeng, Benedikt Huttner

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate


Antibiotics are often prescribed inappropriately, either when they are not necessary or with an unnecessarily broad spectrum of activity. AWaRe (AccessWatchReserve) is a system developed by WHO to classify antibiotics based on their spectrum of activity and potential for favouring the development of antibiotic resistance (Access: narrow spectrum/low potential for resistance; Watch: broader spectrum/higher potential for resistance; Reserve: last resort antibiotics to use very selectively). The WHO target is that by 2023, at least 60% of prescribed antibiotics globally should be from the Access category. The WHO AWaRe Book aims to improve empiric antibiotic prescribing by providing simple guidance for common infections based on the principles of AWaRe in alignment with the Model Lists of Essential Medicines for adults and children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1533-1535
Number of pages3
JournalClinical Microbiology and Infection
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Antibiotic use
  • Guidance
  • Health policy
  • Infectious disease
  • Public health


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