Increasing rate of antibiotic resistance worries care providers

Health care providers have lamented the increasing rate of antibiotic resistance, saying the country and the world may be heading towards the pre-antibiotic period when infections and wounds killed freely without effective treatments and cures.

The experts said this at a webinar organised by St. Racheals Pharma to commemorate 2021 World Antimicrobial Awareness Week.

A Public Health Physician and Head Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Dr. Esohe Ogboghodo, in her presentation, examined the causes of antibiotics resistance to factors which include unrestricted access by members of the public to antibiotics, which often result in abuse.

She said, “Unrestricted access to antimicrobials over the counter from pharmacies, under-regulated patent medicine vendors and hawkers may be the biggest driver of resistance in Nigeria.

“These stores often sell drugs that are outside the list of medicines approved for them. In addition, there are also several itinerant drug sellers that go about hawking unapproved and often poor quality medicines to the public including antimicrobial agents.

“The ease of access and overuse of antimicrobials has resulted in an increased resistance of bacteria to antibiotics, which is paradoxically leading to a loss of effectiveness.”

ogboghodo who is also Chairman of UBTH’s Infection Prevention and Control noted that antibiotics were being over-prescribed by health workers.

“Poor adherence to prescription by individuals has also been listed as a factor contributing to antibiotics resistance. Furthermore, the unfinished doses of antimicrobials are usually kept for future use, or given to other persons with similar complaints,” she said.

A Consultant Clinical Microbiologist at the Lagos State College of Medicine, Dr. Bamidele Mutiu, also blamed health practitioners for contributing to antibiotic resistance in Nigeria.

He said some doctors prescribe the drugs without proper investigation to ensure whether or not antibiotics were required.

The expert said, the theme of this year’s WAAW, ‘Spread Awareness, Stop Resistance’ should start with health practitioners.

“Every time we come in contact with patients, within and outside the hospital,

we should tell them ‘you don’t need antibiotics unless it is indicated, backed up by laboratory diagnosis, microbiological evidence and sensitivity testing.’  I can tell you we, the health workers, are also guilty.

“For some of us, every patient they see, they are adding antibiotics (to their prescriptions) to increase the amount they (patients) will pay and increase profit. We should look inward because the health workers have a role to play,’’ he said.

The Managing Director of St. Racheal’s Pharma, Mr. Akinjide Adeosun, said the problem of antibiotic resistance in Nigeria was as a result of the country’s high out-of-pocket health care expenditure.
SOURCE: THE PUNCH

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