How we can help prevent antibiotic resistance

Henrietta Strickland
November 17, 2018

Leading medics from across the United Kingdom have written to the Government calling for a ban on giving antibiotics to animals which aren't sick.

By 2000, it was determined that antibiotic resistance was actually killing patients.

Simply explained, antibiotic resistance happens when germs such as bacterial and fungi develop the ability to defeat the drugs created to kill them.

"An example of misuse of antibiotics is when a person has fallen ill with a viral infection such as influenza cold or flu, for which antibiotics are generally not appropriate or effective, yet insists that their doctor prescribe them a course of antibiotics".

As the world observes the "World Antibiotic Awareness Week" from November 12-18, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said by now laws and systems should have been in place to control use of antibiotics and a roadmap should have been finalised to phase out their use in animals that are important for humans.

These audits have caused a decrease in the number of inappropriate usages of antibiotics. This is a global health threat that needs to be addressed before it's too late.

The Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Principal Secretary (PS), Harry Kimutai said that globally the burden of AMR is estimated to be 700, 000 deaths annually which is targeted to be 10 million by 2050 and it will amount to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) loss of about one percent.

Moreover, the latest estimates of 33 000 deaths per year in Europe due to antimicrobial resistance must serve as a wake-up call to us all.

He said that self-medication especially of antibiotic medicines should be discouraged by all the quarters concerned.

A medical doctor in Baringo County Paul Odila agrees that antibiotic resistance is becoming a major threat to human treatment.

In September, the World Health Organization warned antibiotics are "running out" as a report found a "serious lack" of new drugs in the development pipeline.

As this resistance increases common procedures such as caesareans and hip replacements could become life-threatening without antibiotics to ward off infections. If the government allowed group prevention to continue, the United Kingdom will have some of Europe's weakest regulatory standards. When antibiotics are used incorrectly they can become less effective.

Kim said people should ask questions whenever they are prescribed antibiotics to ensure the potential risks have been taken into account as well as the potential benefits. In addition to contributing to antibiotic resistance, each prescription comes with the risk of side effects such as rash, diarrhea and yeast infections - all the more reason to only use these drugs when necessary.

However, the letter added that the government is refusing to accept that the legislation contains a clear ban on preventive group treatments.

The Faculty of Public Health, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Medact, The British Medical Journal and The Lancet all also put their names to it.

"The MOH in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation joined the concerted regional and global efforts to reduce antimicrobial resistance and ensure the availability of effective antibiotics", said Aman.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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