Overuse of antibiotics dangerous – Experts warn

Experts have warned against overuse of antibiotics, saying they create stronger germs, while some bacteria are “resistant” to common medications.

They noted when bacteria are resistant to antibiotics, infection becomes harder and more expensive to treat.

At least 700,000 people die each year due to drug-resistant diseases, they said.

They spoke at a virtual media roundtable hosted by Pfizer to raise awareness about Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) aimed at maintaining effectiveness of antibiotics, reports The Nation.

Speakers included Prof Oyinlola Oduyebo of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and Prof. Kennedy Wariso of University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH).

Participants discussed need for AMS, as treatment of infections is becoming more difficult due to emergence of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).

Antimicrobial stewardship is a coordinated programme promoting appropriate use of antimicrobials (including antibiotics), improves patient outcomes, reduces microbial resistance, and decreases infections caused by multidrug-resistant organisms.

Pfizer’s position is governments and the health community must partner to support innovation in new antibiotics and vaccines to curb AMR.

United Nations, it said, estimates by 2050, 10 million deaths could be caused by superbugs and associated forms of antimicrobial resistance, matching the annual global death toll of cancer.

Pfizer Medical Director in West Africa, Dr. Kodjo Soroh, believes AMR is a silent threat and needs urgent attention.

“If AMR continues to rise, minor infections could become life-threatening, serious infections could become superbugs impossible to treat, and routine procedures could become too risky to perform.

“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.

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

“Without action by governments, industry, and society, AMR is expected to cause 10 million deaths each year by 2050.”

Prof Oduyebo warned about the seriousness of AMR.

She said: “AMR is a serious threat to global public health. It increases morbidity and mortality and is associated with high economic costs due to its healthcare burden.

“Infections with multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria also have substantial implications on clinical and economic outcomes.”

Prof Wariso believes the “one health”, holistic and multisectoral approach is needed to address AMR’s rising threat.

He said: “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 be reserved for patients who truly need them.”



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