Experts in Health and the Pharmaceutical industry have called for the strengthening of Ghana’s healthcare delivery systems to prevent irrational use of antibiotics or antimicrobials to reduce the global threat of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).
Some of the systems include the institution of Drugs Susceptibility Tests centres of Culture and Sensitivity Tests centres at all districts health facilities to investigate and know the appropriate use of antibiotics in patients, ensuring antibiotics were only sold on prescriptions and at accredited facilities and minimal use of antibiotics in the daily healthcare delivery.
The experts who included medical doctors, pharmacists, veterinary doctors, and other stakeholders were convinced that critically addressing some of the issues noted above would go a long way to ensure that Antimicrobial resistance and its dire consequences on healthcare was prevented.
The panelists included Dr Boi Kikimoto, Veterinary Surgeon and head of National Food Safety laboratory for Animal Health, Mrs Jennifer Bonnah, a regulatory pharmacist at the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and Focal person representing the FDA on the Ghana national AMR platform, Dr Saviour Yevutsey, Deputy Director of Pharmaceutical Services a the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Coordinator of the Ghana AMR secretariat and Mrs Cecilia Lodonu, executive Director of Hope for Future Generations.
The event was a Symposium held in Koforidua as part of activities line up to celebrate Ghana’s edition of the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week jointly organised by the Ministry of Health, Ghana Health service and supported by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the Wood Health Organisation (WHO), the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) and other allied health organisations.
AMR according to WHO, was an emerging serious global health threat, however, its consequences were huge on is resource countries such as Africa of which Ghana is no exception and the celebration was on the theme “Spread Awareness, Stop Resistance”.
The use of antibiotics or antimicrobials has received increased public health attention in recent times because its irrational use posed a global health threat and it’s estimated that 700,000 deaths are recorded globally and an additional 10 million may occur each year by 2050 if nothing was done to halt the trend of AMR.
Dr Winfred Ofosu, Eastern Regional Director of Health Services, in an opening address said over the years, expansion and improvement in health systems and increased technologies across the world have led to increased availability and added to antimicrobials culminating in resistance to treatment to these life-saving medicines.
In the Eastern Region, a three-year trend of the percentage encounters with prescribed antibiotics indicates that antibiotic prescriptions had been consistently high “in fact it is the most poorly performed Rational Use of Medicine (RUM) indicator in the region rising from 43.3% in 2018 to 53.3% in 2020as against a regional target of 30%.
Dr Ofosu indicated that the causes and impacts of AMR transcend Human, animal, and environmental health, therefore addressing AMR requires a holistic multi-sectoral approach such as one health approach which recognises the interconnections between people animals, and plants, and their shared environment.
Dr Saviour Yevutsey, Coordinator of the AMR secretariat in Ghana called on health facilities to input data of antibiotics prescribed to patients on daily basis to help in the analysis of how to control the use of antibiotics and their related abuse.
Mrs Jennifer Bonnah, said the FDA had established some designation centres to collect unused drugs, especially antimicrobials for professional and efficient disposal to prevent indiscriminate disposal of unused or expired drugs which had its effects on the AMR global threat and hinted that such centres would be replicated in all regions.
Dr Arko Akoto-Ampaw, Medical Director of the Eastern Regional Hospital who moderated the program also called for strong regulatory systems to prevent easy access to antibiotics, especially the sale of such medications in the lorry stations and chemical shops.