Bacterial infections like pneumonia, tuberculosis and gonorrhoea, are becoming harder to treat and the World Health Organisation (WHO) says Antibiotic Resistance is to blame.
As the world celebrates World Antibiotic Awareness, experts are drawing awareness to the concept of Antibiotic Resistance, saying that it is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today.
According to a WHO report, “antibiotic resistance occurs naturally, but misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the process.
“A growing number of infections – such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, and gonorrhoea – are becoming harder to treat as the antibiotics used to treat them become less effective.
So, it seems as if antibiotic resistance has become a disease on its own. However, the WHO advises on how to prevent and control the spread of antibiotic resistance which is accelerated by the misuse and overuse of antibiotics, as well as poor infection prevention and control.
To prevent and control the spread of antibiotic resistance, individuals can:
- Only use antibiotics when prescribed by a certified health professional.
- Never demand antibiotics if your health worker says you don’t need them.
- Always follow your health worker’s advice when using antibiotics.
- Never share or use leftover antibiotics.
- Prevent infections by regularly by washing hands, preparing food hygienically, avoiding close contact with sick people, practising safer sex, and keeping vaccinations up to date.
A publication on the WHO website advises policy makers, Agriculturists, hospitals and healthcare workers:
To prevent and control the spread of antibiotic resistance, policy makers can:
- Ensure a robust national action plan to tackle antibiotic resistance is in place.
- Improve surveillance of antibiotic-resistant infections.
- Strengthen policies, programmes, and implementation of infection prevention and control measures.
- Regulate and promote the appropriate use and disposal of quality medicines.
- Make information available on the impact of antibiotic resistance.
To prevent and control the spread of antibiotic resistance, health professionals can:
- Prevent infections by ensuring your hands, instruments, and environment are clean.
- Only prescribe and dispense antibiotics when they are needed, according to current guidelines.
- Report antibiotic-resistant infections to surveillance teams.
- Talk to your patients about how to take antibiotics correctly, antibiotic resistance and the dangers of misuse.
- Talk to your patients about preventing infections (for example, vaccination, hand washing, safer sex, and covering nose and mouth when sneezing).
To prevent and control the spread of antibiotic resistance, the health industry can:
- Invest in research and development of new antibiotics, vaccines, diagnostics and other tools.
To prevent and control the spread of antibiotic resistance, the agriculture sector can:
- Only give antibiotics to animals under veterinary supervision.
- Not use antibiotics for growth promotion or to prevent diseases.
- Vaccinate animals to reduce the need for antibiotics and use alternatives to antibiotics when available.
- Promote and apply good practices at all steps of production and processing of foods from animal and plant sources.
- Improve biosecurity on farms and prevent infections through improved hygiene and animal welfare.