Mr Benjamin Ampadu, Head of Pharmacy, Focus Orthopedic Hospital, has advised the citizenry to avoid self-medication, overuse, and misuse of medication to help control the rising rates of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).
“Whenever there is something wrong with you medically, try to resist self-medication because it doesn’t help, we have turned ourselves into doctors diagnosing all kinds of things happening to us so, even before we get to the pharmacy, we suggest the drugs we want and this is unhealthy,” he said.
Mr Ampadu was speaking at a panel discussion held by the Focus Hospital in Accra on Friday to mark this year’s World Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Awareness Week.
The World Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Awareness Week is a global campaign celebrated from 18-24 November every year to raise awareness and understanding of AMR.
The week also seeks to promote best practices among health stakeholders to reduce the emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections.
It was on the theme: “Preventing antimicrobial resistance together”.
Mr Ampadu entreated the public to use antibiotics under medical prescription and avoid using leftovers or antibiotics obtained without prescription.
He said it was also unacceptable for pharmacies to sell antibiotics to customers without a prescription and urged them to be present in their facilities to offer professional advice and services when people requested antibiotics without prescriptions.
“We need to adhere to prescriptions, every prescription has its frequency and duration, for instance if you are asked to take a medication twice a day for six days, please stick to it, it is inappropriate for you to overuse or under use what is clearly stated,” he said.
The pharmacist advised the public to avoid buying medications from drug peddlers in markets.
He said antimicrobial resistance was a naturally occurring process, but human activities such as poor infection control, prolonged, overuse and abuse of medications was rapidly facilitating it.
Dr Francis Addai, A Family Physician and Head of Medical Services at Focus Orthopedic Hospital, asked parents to avoid using antibiotics for respiratory infection in children when not prescribed.
He said there was a clear guideline when it came to using antibacterial agent for viral upper respiration infections and that using it when not prescribed was wrong.
“Using antibiotics is not allowed in the first weeks of an infection, a primary infection in the first week is virial and you don’t need an antibiotic, it may be used within the second week when it becomes a bacterial infection,” he said.
Dr Irene Adorkor Wulff, Chief Executive Officer, Focus Orthopedic Hospital, said antimicrobial resistance had been recorded in TB infections, malaria, and HIV.
She advised the public to use medications and antibiotics in the best ways, saying “We need to make smart choices about when to use them, which one to use, how much to use, how to take them and for how long.”
Dr Wulff advised the public to make good use of vaccine to avoid viral and bacterial infections.
Dr Gifty Boateng, Head, Natural Public Health and Reference Laboratory at the Ghana Health Service, called for the provision of a policy to regulate the usage of antimicrobials in humans and animals.
AMR occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines making infections difficult to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.
Antimicrobials – including antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals and antiparasitic are medicines used to prevent and treat infections in humans, animals and plants.
AMR puts many of the gains of modern medicine at risk. It makes infections harder to treat and makes other medical procedures and treatments, such as surgery, caesarean sections and cancer chemotherapy much riskier.