The World Health Organisation (WHO) has expressed concern over antibiotics resistance, warning that nothing less than global health security is at stake when antibiotics are misused.
WHO said that from being miracle life-savers, antibiotics are becoming ineffective against resistant infections which can affect anybody of any age and in any country.
Its regional director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, stated this in a message at the World Antibiotic Awareness Week, with the theme: “Think Twice. Seek Advice.”
She said that antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria (not humans or animals) become resistant to the active ingredients in these medicines. These resistant bacteria, she said, may infect humans and animals, making infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and gonorrhea harder to treat.
The reasons for rising antibiotic resistance, Moeti said included overprescribing, misuse by patients who don’t follow the advice of healthcare professionals, overuse in farming, poor infection control, and a lack of new antibiotics.
“We can help by seeking advice from a health professional before taking antibiotics. They are a precious resource,” she said.
According to her, Africa lacks data on the scope and scale of antibiotic resistance. However, she said that laboratories and researchers have a critical role to play in identifying resistant bacteria and contributing to the global picture so that the world can take appropriate action.