World Antibiotic Awareness Week

WHO warns 'urgent action' is needed to tackle global misuse of antibiotics

Antibiotic resistance - bacteria are fighting back

Mark your calendar for this year's European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD).

Dr. Aamer Ikram, President of MMIDSP said, "MMIDSP takes the pride in launching the initiative to curb AMR through 'Antibiotic Stewardship Initiative in Pakistan (ASIP).' The Society has organized multiple events in collaboration with Pfizer Pakistan for creating awareness and imparting training at both institutional and community levels to address the injudicious overuse of antibiotics with ever increasing AMR".

Southern DHB Chief Medical Officer, Dr Nigel Millar says taking antibiotics when they are not needed can cause bacteria to become resistant, meaning current treatments will no longer work. This helps prevent antimicrobial resistance from forming and keeps antibiotics working, for humans and animals alike.

But the World Health Organization is also concerned about the under-consumption of antibiotics. These resistant bacteria may infect humans and animals, making infections like pneumonia, tuberculosis and gonorrhoea harder to treat. In many low- and middle-income countries, where high mortality rates from infectious diseases and low rates of use of antibiotics were observed, resistance can occur when people cannot afford a full course of treatment or only have access to substandard or falsified medicines.

Never pressure your healthcare provider for an antibiotic prescription. These medicines are essential for treating bacterial infections in humans and animals. "However, we know that antibiotic resistance is rising because common bacteria, which cause urinary tract infections, diarrhoea and septic wounds, among others, are becoming resistant to readily available and prescribed antibiotics".

Only use antibiotics when prescribed by a certified health professional.

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Almost three quarters (73%) of those surveyed agree that the federal government should provide incentives to encourage increased private sector investment in the development of new antibiotics, reflecting consensus among 80% of Republicans, 76% of Democrats and 63% of Independents. Reducing the usage of antibiotics in the modern world is the need of the hour. There's a wide range in consumption in this category; from less than 20% of total antibiotic consumption in some countries to more than 50% in others. According to the Vermont Department of Health, this Halloween season brought with it an outbreak of a stomach bug that is resistant to most antibiotics that would be used to treat it.

All this indicates that no single sector has the capacity to solve the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance alone, but collective action can help the world make progress.

Deaths due to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) could surpass annual cancer fatalities, a situation which the United Nations has called a "global health emergency".

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".

The repercussions of antibiotic resistance can be devastating.

"Governments, funding agencies and the private sector need to invest and work together to secure safe, effective medicines for generations to come".

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