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WHO raises alarm on danger of antibiotics abuse

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised the alarm on the danger of antibiotics resistance, saying it endangers health security and progress towards universal health…

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised the alarm on the danger of antibiotics resistance, saying it endangers health security and progress towards universal health coverage.

According to the organisation, the Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) reduces ability to treat diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhoea and cancer; and also threatens ability to conduct surgeries and care for premature babies.

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, who spoke in Abuja yesterday at a press briefing on the awareness week, noted that the silent pandemic was already causing 700,000 deaths worldwide each year.

He said if left unchecked, the AMR could cause up to 10 million deaths annually by 2050.

According to him, people living in developing countries and those in fragile contexts, affected by conflict and violence, are particularly vulnerable.

“Misuse of antibiotics has put us all at risk,” he said, urging everyone to do more to handle antibiotics with care.

“Patients should only use antibiotics prescribed by a certified health professional and not practice self-prescription or employ on the counter use of medication,” he said.

He also enjoined all health workers to always follow infection prevention and control practices, and only prescribe and dispense antibiotics when truly needed.

“We are seeing high resistance to common pathogens such as 98% fluoroquinolone-resistant escherichia coli, meaning there are limited treatment options for people that get this infection. Key challenges in combating AMR include: weak regulatory systems facilitating proliferation of substandard and falsified medicines, limited implementation of standards for clean water, sanitation and hygiene and a lack of reliable data.”