Mobile handset users have been advised to regularly sanitize their mobile phones thoroughly to prevent them from contracting illnesses and diseases caused by bacteria infections.
This is because improper cleaning of mobile phones and other tools being handled frequently with one’s hands have been identified as possible sources of bacterial infections.
Studies show that mobile phones carry a lot of bacteria and are easily contaminated due to their frequent usage at many public places including health centres, markets and other populated areas.
Dr Saviour Yevutsey, Head of Ghana’s Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) at the Ministry of Health, said this at a two-day media training programme organized by the MoH and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for health journalists, on antimicrobial communication and antimicrobial resistance awareness in Koforidua.
The training was part of activities scheduled to commemorate this year’s World Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Week celebration.
Dr Saviour Yevutsey advised that handset users should always use alcohol-based wipes to clean their mobile phones, adding that, research in some selected health facilities showed that mobile phones carry a lot of bacteria.
He mentioned some of the bacteria which included E.Coli, Staphylococcus and other bacteria groups that were also found on patients and other health facilities.
He cautioned all to be careful with how they touched surfaces and be conscious of using hand sanitizers and observe other hygienic practices.
The AMR has been identified as one of the major public health problems of the 21st century which threatens the effective prevention and treatment of microbial infections.
The week is dedicated to creating awareness of the threat and educating the public.
Dr Yevutsey said Antimicrobial resistance was a global threat but Africa including Ghana was at high risk due to several factors indicating that globally about 700,000 deaths are recorded annually and estimated that an additional 10 million may occur each year by 2050 if nothing was done.
One of the ways to ensure judicious use of antibiotics or antimicrobials in order to avert the threat of resistance, according to the expert, is to take hygienic practices such as handwashing and sanitizing including cleansing of mobile phones to prevent infections.
Antibiotics or antimicrobials are medicines used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections such as infections of the blood, the skin, the chest and others and are supposed to be prescribed by medical experts.
However many people self-medicate and inappropriately use these drugs which have developed resistance.
Dr Yevutsey, therefore, urged the health journalists to take up the antibiotic resistance seriously and educate the public on it, “If nothing is done the consequences will be telling on all of us.”
Dr Kofi Afarkye, Representative of FAO, said apart from human misuse of antimicrobials, the agricultural sector also contributed largely to the antibiotics or antimicrobial resistance.
He said consumption of antimicrobial in the livestock sector alone in 2010 was 63,152 tonnes, while studies show that global use of antibiotics in livestock will rise to 67 per cent by 2030.