Pfizer creates awareness on antibiotic abuse

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 called for critical action against the use of antibiotics.

He said the abuse of antibiotics has given rise to public health concern in Ghana and other parts of the African continent.

Prof Buabeng indicated at a round table media discussion on Antimicrobial Resistance and Stewardship orgainsed by Pfizer on Zoom yesterday, that the patients are currently not responding to treatment because their bodies have developed resistance to the medication.

He added that this trend has been attributed to drug abuse, over dosage, wrong pescriptions and noncompeting medication course.

According to him, the challenge is not limited to public health but the agriculture sector where livestock, poultry and fishes are given cocktail of antibiotics, which are passed on to their human consumers.

Therefore, a combined effect of being exposed these animal products and factors mentioned above will cost patients more on treatment, and longer admission at the hospital as well as recovery or even death.

He noted with worry that Artesunate-amodiaquine may no longer treat malaria like Chloroquine because of these very reasons, “it is a shame the first and second generation (of antibiotics) is no longer effective.”

Prof Buabeng added that Ghana needs to adopt a policy to address this as emergency public health concern, especially when it lacks the capacity to develop new or more potent antibiotics.

He said the development need massive public awareness, education and policy to cause change the country’s health ecosystem.

“Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a serious threat to global public health. It increases morbidity and mortality, and is associated with high economic costs due to its health care burden. Infections with multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria also have substantial implications on clinical and economic outcomes.

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. Antimicrobial stewardship (AMS), an organizational or system-wide health-care 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. 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 towards 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. Yaw Ampem Amoakoa, Senior Lecturer at the School of Medicine and Dentistry at the KNUST, Consultant Infectious Diseases Physician and Research Scientist at Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine (KCCR), assessed the economic impact of Antimicrobial Resistance on the country.

According to him, 60 per cent of outpatient people do not need antibiotics but the challenge can be address through public awareness and education, as well as multi-sectoral and multi-discipline approach.

He explained that medication is not administered in a vacuum but upon a thorough examination that it may not result in other health complications.

Dr. Amoako emphasized on the importance of antimicrobial stewardship programmes, which 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.”

Dr. Kodjo Soroh, Medical Director West Africa Pfizer explained that 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.

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


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