Developing a national surveillance system for antimicrobial use and resistance in Australia: AURA

Prof John Turnidge1, Kim Stewart1, Jan Bell1

Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, Sydney, NSW, Australia


Introduction: The Commission has established a nationally coordinated surveillance system for antimicrobial use and resistance in Australia (AURA). The results of surveillance will enable high-quality information and data for practice improvement, program and policy development, and support research priorities.

Methods: To develop AURA, the Commission worked collaboratively with established programs and key stakeholders to bring together knowledge, expertise and existing data collections to further enhance the coverage, capacity and accessibility to surveillance data. The activities have been complemented by the Commission’s work to identify gaps in surveillance; develop new systems; and enhance coordination across programs to allow greater analyses and reporting.

Programs now integrated under AURA include, but are not limited to, the National Antimicrobial Utilisation Surveillance Program, the National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey and the Australian Group on Antimicrobial Resistance.

A new system developed is the national alert system for Critical Antimicrobial Resistances (CARAlert) which will provide timely advice on critical antimicrobial resistances to all jurisdictions.

Results: For the first time, data from these and other programs have been brought together for AURA 2016: First Australian report on antimicrobial use and resistance in human health.

Conclusions: Comprehensive, coordinated and effective surveillance of antimicrobial use and resistance is a national priority. The Commission has identified the core components of a national surveillance system and will continue to work to enhance existing programs; provide targeted analyses and reporting to inform strategies to prevent and contain AMR; and undertake specific programs of work to improve the safety and quality in health care delivery.

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