Antimicrobial resistance is now becoming a real issue and threat to life in Africa and Nigeria in particular.
What is Antimicrobial resistance?? What is the cause of this??
How can we eradicate or reduce this trend to the barest minimum??
WHAT ARE ANTIMICROBIALS?
Antimicrobials – including antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals and antiparasitics – are medicines used to prevent and treat infections in humans, animals and plant.
What is antimicrobial resistance?
Antimicrobial Resistance (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.
As a result of drug resistance, antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines become ineffective and infections become increasingly difficult or impossible to treat.
So, Antimicrobial resistance is the phenomenon used to describe the situation when microorganisms develop resistance to drugs such as antibiotics, antimicrobials, etc.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the most serious global public health threats in this century. The first World Health Organization (WHO) Global report on surveillance of AMR, published in April 2014, collected for the first time data from national and international surveillance networks, showing the extent of this phenomenon in many parts of the world and also the presence of large gaps in the existing surveillance. In this review, we focus on antibacterial resistance (ABR), which represents at the moment the major problem, both for the high rates of resistance observed in bacteria that cause common infections and for the complexity of the consequences of ABR. We describe the health and economic impact of ABR, the principal risk factors for its emergence and, in particular, we illustrate the highlights of four antibiotic-resistant pathogens of global concern – Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, non-typhoidal Salmonella and Mycobacterium tuberculosis – for whom we report resistance data worldwide. Measures to control the emergence and the spread of ABR are presented.
[size=18.6667px]CAUSES OF ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE
[size=18.6667px]The causes of Antimicrobial resistance are vast but we will try to narrow then down to what everyone can comprehend.
[size=18.6667px]1. Overuse Of Antimicrobials: Many a times when people fall sick for example a bacteria infection, they are most likely to go and purchase an antibiotic (antibacterial medicine) to combat the disease without consulting a medical doctor. Maybe because they've used the drug in the past or they know someone who has used the drug in the past.
[size=18.6667px]Because of this, the bacteria can develop resistance to that drug and this can lead to other medical complications as well.
[size=18.6667px]2. Misuse Of Antimicrobials: The use of Antimicrobials without Doctor's prescription is another major cause of microbial resistance to drugs.
[size=18.6667px]People buy over-the-counter medications whenever they feel sick or suspect microbial attacks such as Malaria, Typhoid fever, and other microbial infections.
[size=18.6667px]Other causative factors for Antimicrobial resistance includes:
[size=18.6667px]- lack of access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for both humans and animals;
[size=18.6667px]- poor infection and disease prevention and control in health-care facilities and farms;
[size=18.6667px]- poor access to quality, affordable medicines, vaccines and diagnostics;
[size=18.6667px]- lack of awareness and knowledge; and lack of enforcement of legislation.
Prevention And Control:
Antibiotic resistance is accelerated by the misuse and overuse of antibiotics, as well as poor infection prevention and control. Steps can be taken at all levels of society to reduce the impact and limit the spread of resistance.
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 washing hands, preparing food hygienically, avoiding close contact with sick people, practising safer sex, and keeping vaccinations up to date.
- Prepare food hygienically, following the WHO Five Keys to Safer Food (keep clean, separate raw and cooked, cook thoroughly, keep food at safe temperatures, use safe water and raw materials) and choose foods that have been produced without the use of antibiotics for growth promotion or disease prevention in healthy animals.
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 in healthy animals.
- 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.
Always seek Doctor's advice and do not self-medicate. Play your part to curb Antimicrobial resistance in our society.