World Antibiotics week -Patients advised to use prescribed drugs

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The World Health Organisation has charged patients to use antibiotics only when prescribed  by a healthcare personnel.

The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti gave the indication on the sidelines of the  World Antibiotic Awareness week. 

She advised patients never to demand nor share antibiotics, and only use them when prescribed by a certified healthcare professional. 

“Farmers and food producers should help by giving antibiotics to animals only to control or treat infectious diseases, and phase out the routine use of antibiotics to promote growth. We should ensure  that patients and animals use antibiotics only when they are really needed.It  is critical to keep antibiotics effective for as long as possible.”

The WHO Regional director said the reasons for the rising antibiotic resistance include ;overprescribing, misuse by patients who don’t follow the advice of healthcare professionals, overuse in farming, poor infection control, and a lack of new antibiotics. “We can help by seeking advice from a health professional before taking antibiotics. 

 Nothing less than global health security is at stake when antibiotics are misused. From being miracle life-savers, antibiotics are becoming ineffective against resistant infectious which can affect anyone, of any age, in any country.”

According to her, anti biotic resistance occurs when bacteria (not humans or animals) become resistant to the active ingredients in these medicines. These resistant bacteria may infect humans and animals, making infections like pneumonia, tuberculosis and gonorrhea harder to treat. 

“Laboratories and researchers have a critical role to play in identifying resistant bacteria and contributing to the global picture so the world can take appropriate action

 Africa lacks data on the scope and scale of antibiotic resistance. However, we know that antibiotic resistance is rising because common bacteria which cause urinary tract infections, diarrhea and septic wounds among other things, are becoming resistant to readily available and prescribed antibiotics. 

She further spoke on the need for laboratories to assist by looking out for evidence of resistance in the bacteria they see, and to feed the  information into national and regional efforts to understand how it spreads and where it poses the greatest risk

 Moeti also charged hospitals and health centres to help keep infections at bay with thorough hygiene and sanitation practices.

“Infections spread when sanitation, hygiene and infection control measures are not followed.  Healthcare practitioners should always practice good infection prevention and control. In addition, they should only prescribe and dispense antibiotics when they are truly needed, inform patients on how to use them appropriately, and educate patients on how to avoid common infections. All hospitals and community health centres should strive to control the spread of infections by making use of the best possible hygiene and sanitations measures available.”

“WHO in the African Region has made the fight against antibiotic resistance a top priority, and is working with countries to develop and implement action plans to combat antibiotic resistance and generate reliable data for action. We are helping countries to build resilient health systems through stronger regulation and policies which promote the appropriate use of quality antibiotics.”she emphasized.

The World Health Organization (WHO) will join the global community to observe World Antibiotic Awareness Week from 12-18 November 2018 with the overall theme “Think Twice. Seek Advice.” 

This year, WHO is introducing sub-themes to showcase the immense work underway to tackle antimicrobial resistance, and which demonstrate how antibiotics are linked between humans, animals and the environment.

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