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Health Experts Caution Public Against Misuse of Antibiotics

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Prof Kwame Ohene Buabeng
Professor Kwame Ohene Buabeng

Prof. Kwame Ohene Buabeng, a Clinical Pharmacologist and a Professor of Pharmacy Practice at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has advised the general public against the misuse of antibiotics since it one of the leading cause of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Stressing that Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is also a serious threat to global public health as it increases morbidity and mortality.

Prof. Kwame Ohene Buabeng made this known at a virtual media roundtable organized by Pfizer, a pharmaceutical company to create awareness about Antimicrobial Resistance and Stewardship (AMS) said infections with multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria have substantial implications on clinical and economic outcomes.

More so, Antimicrobial resistance is also associated with high economic costs due to its healthcare burden.

“Moreover, increased indiscriminate use of antibiotics during the COVID-19 pandemic will heighten bacterial resistance and ultimately lead to more deaths.

This review highlights AMR’s scale and consequences, the importance, and implications of an antimicrobial stewardship program (ASP) to fight resistance and protect global health,” he explained.

However, he said Antimicrobial stewardship (AMS), an organizational or system-wide healthcare strategy, is designed to promote, improve, monitor, and evaluate the rational use of antimicrobials to preserve their future effectiveness, along with the promotion and protection of public health.

This said, ASP has been very successful in promoting antimicrobials’ appropriate use by implementing evidence-based interventions.

The “One Health” approach, a holistic and multisectoral approach, is also needed to address AMR’s rising threat. AMS practices, principles, and interventions are critical steps toward containing and mitigating AMR.

Evidence-based policies must guide the “One Health” approach, vaccination protocols, health professionals’ education, and the public’s awareness about AMR.

Dr. Kodjo Soroh, Medical Director West Africa Pfizer,  also noted that Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.

As he said, AMR is one of the biggest threats to global health today and can affect anyone, of any age, in any country.

According to him, if the menace it continues to rise unchecked, minor infections could become life- threatening, serious infections could become impossible to treat, and many routine medical procedures could become too risky to perform.

“Without action by governments, industry, and society, AMR is expected to cause 10 million deaths each year by 2050. Overuse of antibiotics is creating stronger germs. Some bacteria are already “resistant” to common antibiotics.

When bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, it is often harder and more expensive to treat the infection. Losing the ability to treat serious bacterial infections is a major threat to public health.

Currently, at least 700,000 people die each year due to drug-resistant diseases. More and more common diseases, including respiratory tract infections, sexually transmitted infections, and urinary tract infections, are untreatable; lifesaving medical procedures are becoming much riskier, and our food systems are increasingly precarious,” he disclosed.

Senior Lecturer at the School of Medicine and Dentistry of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Consultant Infectious Diseases Physician and Research Scientist at Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine (KCCR) Dr. Yaw Ampem Amoako also explained that Antimicrobial stewardship programmes optimize the use of antimicrobials, improve patient outcomes, reduce AMR and health-care-associated infections, and save health-care costs amongst others.

  “With rates of AMR increasing worldwide, and very few new antibiotics being developed, existing antibiotics are becoming a limited resource. It is therefore essential that antibiotics only be prescribed – and that last-resort antibiotics (AWaRe RESERVE group) be reserved – for patients who truly need them. Hence, AMS and its defined set of actions for optimizing antibiotic use are of paramount importance.”

A robust pipeline of new antimicrobials is essential to restoring the balance against increasing rates of AMR. However, significant economic hurdles have made research and development in this area a challenge.

“No novel class of antibiotics has been launched for almost 40 years, and even when newly approved treatments come to market, they may be used sparingly to support good antimicrobial stewardship practices – making it difficult to recover the high cost associated with development. New reimbursement models that more fully reflect the complete value of antimicrobials are critical,” he observed.

About Pfizer: Breakthroughs That Change Patients’ Lives 
At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety, and value in the discovery, development, and manufacture of health care products, including innovative medicines and vaccines. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments, and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world’s premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments, and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 150 years, we have worked to make a difference for all who rely on us. We routinely post information that may be important to investors on our website at www.Pfizer.com.

Source: Isaac Kofi Dzokpo/newsghana.com.gh

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