World Health Organization denounces the misuse of antibiotics

Pearl Mccarthy
November 13, 2018

Dr Suzanne Hill, Director of the Department of Essential Medicines and Health Products at WHO explains: "Overuse and misuse of antibiotics are the leading causes of antimicrobial resistance".

"... The "WHO Report on Surveillance of Antibiotic Consumption" looked at antibiotic use in 65 countries and found the Netherlands used 9.78 defined daily doses (DDD) per 1,000 people, while Britain used twice as much, and Turkey nearly twice as much again, at 38.18 DDD per 1,000 inhabitants..." These should be used cautiously due to the high chance of causing antimicrobial resistance and/or their side-effects.

"According to our survey of 2,500 consumers, the belief that antibiotic resistance is affecting us now has more than doubled in recent years, from 11% in 2015 to 25% in 2017, indicating our campaigns have had an impact and people are more aware of the problem", said Mr Morris.

WHO has warned on numerous occasions that the number of effective antibiotics in the world is declining, while the superbugs number is increasing.

"We know that nearly one in every two Australians (45%) takes an antibiotic each year, and our nation's consumption levels are higher than those of comparable countries such as the United Kingdom and the Netherlands", said Mr Morris. This is important, because to date information on antibiotic use in developing countries has been scarce. Antibiotics for therapeutic uses in animals are classed by MPI as restricted veterinary medicines and need a veterinary prescription before use. Antibiotics also don't help most ear infections get better any faster.

Drug-resistant infections can result from poor access to antimicrobials.

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Around 10 million soldiers are estimated to have been killed during the fighting and more than double that number wounded. Millions of soldiers and civilians lost their lives in what became known as the Great War, and as many more were injured.

While the European Region and some well-resourced countries have been collecting data on antibiotic use for many years, many countries face major challenges, including lack of funds and trained staff, in collecting reliable data. Sixteen of these countries have contributed to this first report and many more are expected to contribute to the global data in the next few years.

"However, the GHA carried out its own study into this subject in 2014 and, since that time, it has formulated and implemented different initiatives to curb and rationalise its own antibiotic prescribing".

He thus directed regulatory agencies including the Food and Drugs Authority, the Pharmacy Council, the Traditional and Alternate Medicine Council as well as other health professional bodies to step up their game to effectively regulate the access and use of antimicrobials.

Rev. Awitty further called for the strengthening of laboratories in the various health facilities to enable prompt confirmation of suspected infections to aid the selection of appropriate antibiotics.

Moreover, the lack of access to quality assured antibiotics pushes individuals to buy antibiotics without a prescription, and this variable is not now captured by the surveillance system. There are countries where antibiotics can be bought for human or animal use without a prescription which makes the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance worse.

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