Antimicrobial Resistance a Global Health Emergency

Kenny Tucker
November 14, 2018

GENEVA-The World Health Organization (WHO) unveiled on other day the first global report on antibiotic consumption for human health, warning particularly against the danger of overuse of antibiotic medicines.

It aims to draw attention to the role of effective use of antibiotics in preventing and containing antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Health providers and stakeholders said they were willing to use this week to educate the public about what antibiotics were, antibiotic resistance, appropriate use of antibiotics and the spread of resistance.

However, unwillingness or unpreparedness of any individual or organisation to act or react would not deter the overuse of antibiotics becoming a much bigger problem.

Never demand antibiotics if your health worker says you don't need them.

Antibiotics don't work for all infections. NPS MedicineWise programs support health professionals and consumers to use antibiotics wisely, including the 5-year Reducing Antibiotic Resistance program, which ran from 2012-2017.

Staff and students are invited to drop off any unwanted antibiotics at the stands on each of the days, with the drugs disposed of by the HPRU in Healthcare Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance team.

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"Our research identified an estimated 14% reduction in the number of dispensed antibiotics compared to what would have been expected if NPS MedicineWise programs had not been implemented, which shows these programs are contributing to addressing this complex problem", he said.

According to WHO, antibiotic resistance poses a serious threat to global health, food security and development.

World Antibiotic Awareness Week occurs annually in November, this year running from Monday 12 to Sunday 18 November 2018. Antibiotic resistance is the ability of bacteria to survive treatment with antibiotics. Besides focusing on awareness about the consequences of irrational use of antibiotics, greater investment is required on promotion of health and public health infrastructure to minimise the need for antibiotics use.

Antibiotics are needed only when the infection is caused by a bacteria. The resulting resistance that has built up over time has become a global health emergency leading the UN General Assembly to include AMR as a priority health issue to be tackled alongside responses to Ebola and HIV.

"Everyone has a part to play in reducing antibiotic resistance".

"Reserve" group antibiotics are only to be used as last-resort antibiotics for treatment of specific infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria. These antimicrobials are used to treat common infections.

Other countries, such as Bangladesh, plan to use consumption data to improve quality assurance of medicines by prioritizing quality controls for the most sold products and packages. "Always insist on a licensed pharmacist to dispense the drug and give you the right prescriptions, where the professional is unavailable please walk away", Executive Secretary of the PSGH, Rev. Dennis Sena Awitty advised. They found that the highest amount of antibiotic prescriptions took place at urgent care centers, followed by retail clinics, emergency departments, and then medical offices.

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