Wide differences in antibiotic use between countries

Grant Boone
November 13, 2018

European Antibiotic Awareness Day takes place ever year on 18 November to raise awareness about the threat to public health from antibiotic resistance and the importance of prudent use of antibiotics.

The WHO has repeatedly warned the world is running out of effective antibiotics, and previous year urged governments and big pharma to create a new generation of drugs to fight ultra-resistant supergerms.

According to her, this year, World Health Organization is introducing sub-themes to showcase the vast work underway to tackle antimicrobial resistance, and which demonstrate how antibiotics are linked between humans, animals and the environment.

The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu in a speech read on his behalf expressed confidence the country was on the path to containing the phenomenon of AMR with the policy on "Antimicrobial Use and Resistance and the corresponding National Action Plan (NAP), modelled after the Global Action Plan developed in one health".

"According to our survey of 2,500 consumers, the belief that antibiotic resistance is affecting us now has more than doubled in recent years, from 11% in 2015 to 25% in 2017, indicating our campaigns have had an impact and people are more aware of the problem", said Mr Morris.

One effective way of protecting human health is by reducing the chances of resistance developing among microbes in animals.

Painting the numerous health risks associated with the high antibiotics resistance rate in the country, Rev. Awitty pointed out that "it is now becoming hard to treat minor infections like tuberculosis even with the combination of four different drugs". The unregulated sales of antibiotic contribute to the overuse and misuse of these medicines, it added. New resistance mechanisms in bacteria are emerging and spreading globally, threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases.

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By 2050, some five million people could die each year in Asia alone due to resistance to antibiotic medicines or antimicrobials, according to United Nations agencies.

"We can help by seeking advice from a health professional before taking antibiotics".

On day five and the final day of WAAW, the message is to develop economic cases for sustainable investment that takes into account what each country needs to fight the bane of antibiotic resistance. Africa lacks data on the scope and scale of antibiotic resistance.

In WHO Model List of Essential Medicines, antibiotic medicines have been categorized into three types, including the "Access" category for treatment of common infections; the "Watch" category that should be used with caution because of high potential to cause antimicrobial resistance and/or side-effects; and the "Reserve" category which should only be used as last-resort antibiotics.

"Infections like gonorrhoea, pneumonia and others are now no exception when it comes to AMR and that is equally seen in the veterinary practice which increases the risk of the condition", he said.

In countries without standard treatment guidelines, antibiotics are often over-prescribed by health workers and veterinarians and over-used by the public. It directs all hospitals and health-care centres to do their best to keep infection and other sanitation-related problems at bay.

She, however, urged that antibiotics must be used wisely in humans and animals that really need them.

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