The group agreed that the challenge of antibiotic resistance requires a global, multi-stakeholder approach and should seek to create a framework for international behavioural change initiatives. This has to be a sustainable campaign that targets all healthcare professionals, the public and patients simultaneously.

Harnessing mass media, social media and peer-to-peer influencers via a multi-pronged approach is required, said Prof. Essack. This should go beyond a patient leaflet or poster and translate into a concrete intervention.

Prof. Kozlov agreed with the need for a sustainable approach.

“I have never seen any campaign that has been sustained, these have just lasted for one year.”

Prof. van der Velden shared experience of the annually repeated Belgian and French mass media campaigns (including prime time television spots) that have succeeded in shifting Belgium from a high antibiotic prescribing rate country to one with a moderate prescribing rate.

Creating a sustainable campaign that can be activated around the globe is an ambitious aim, the group recognised. Harnessing differing strategies within each country under the umbrella of a global framework will be needed to achieve the same overall objective: rational antibiotic use in respiratory tract infections.