On November 18-19, 2016, as part of marking the World Antibiotic Awareness Week, the Association of Family Medicine Specialists – Respiratory Group and the Center for Family Medicine, Medical Faculty – Skopje organized the Second Symposium on Antibiotics in Primary Care “Antibiotics…? Yes, but NOT in ARIs!”. The Opening Ceremony was moderated by Ass. Prof. Dr Katarina Stavrikj, and addressed by the current president and president-elect of the International Primary Care Respiratory Group (IPCRG), Dr Jaime Correia de Sousa from Portugal and Dr Ioanna Tsiligianni from Greece. The opening session was also dedicated to setting the context by presenting the national policies and efforts for rational use of antibiotics as well as prevention of antimicrobial resistance by Prim. Dr Golubinka Boshevska, and the very rich and wide array of the WHO-supported awareness raising activities, presented by Dr Neda Milevska Kostova. The program of the Symposium was enriched with scientific presentations from practitioners and professors Macedonia, Portugal, Greece, Slovenia and Croatia with the aim of exchanging experiences for improving the policies and practices for rational use of antibiotics. The round table organized within the Symposium and moderated by Prof. Dr Nikola Panovski and Ass. Prof. Dr Katarina Stavrikj resulted in conclusions and recommendations for improving policies and regulations with focus on joint actions of all stakeholders, including healthcare professionals, the general public, the Ministry of Health, Health Insurance Fund and other stakeholders to reduce the unnecessary use of antibiotics in primary health care.
The country also actively participated in the Antibiotic Guardian initiative, with translation and dissemination of the statements among the stakeholders, as another form of increasing the outreach of the important messages for keeping the antibiotics for the future generations.