More Effort Needed To Reduce Antibiotics Consumption, WHO Report Says

Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria become resistant to the active ingredients in these medicines

A new report from the World Health Organization came to a paradoxical, but nonetheless worrying conclusion about antibiotic use world-wide: A rise in multi-drug-resistant bacteria can be traced to both some countries over-using antibiotics, AND some countries under-using them.

"Antibiotic resistance is threatening our ability to safely and effectively provide medical care to many patients, including organ and bone marrow transplants, joint replacements and other complex surgeries, cancer chemotherapy, and care of preterm infants", IDSA President Cynthia Sears, MD, FIDSA, said.

Antibiotics help in tackling such harmful bacteria by making it hard for them to proliferate.

However, unwillingness or unpreparedness of any individual or organisation to act or react would not deter the overuse of antibiotics becoming a much bigger problem.

Antibiotics are a precious resource that are fundamental to the efficacy of cancer medicine, routine but life-saving operations such as caesarean sections and other modern medical procedures such as hip replacements.

Antibiotic use in animal agriculture comes under quite a bit of scrutiny with critics arguing that ranchers should be decreasing the use of antibiotics in beef production. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls resistance to antibiotics one of the most urgent threats to public health.

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"Antibiotics are powerful tools for fighting disease, but if used inappropriately in people, animals or other applications, it can set the stage for antibiotic resistance", said National Pork Board's Heather Fowler, DVM, Pork Checkoff's director of producer and public health.

It is estimated that antibiotic resistance could cause an additional 10 million deaths around the world per year by 2050 if action isn't taken. Antibiotic treatment works to treat infections by either killing or slowing the growth of bacteria that cause illnesses. "To avoid this, more people need to understand that antibiotics should only be used when they are needed and prescribed appropriately, because the consequences of not doing so are considerable". Reducing the usage of antibiotics in the modern world is the need of the hour.

Nothing less than global health security is at stake when antibiotics are misused. "Antimicrobials are important for the treatment of animal and plant diseases but must be used responsibly and only when needed", says FAO.

The increasing resistance to antibiotics is now a global problem.

The WHO in the African region has made the fight against antibiotic resistance a top priority, and is working with countries to develop and implement action plans to combat antibiotic resistance and generate reliable data for action.

· Only take antibiotics prescribed for you; do not share or use leftover antibiotics. This is a wrong notion since viral infections can not be cured by bacterial antibiotics. "Always insist on a licensed pharmacist to dispense the drug and give you the right prescriptions, where the professional is unavailable please walk away", Executive Secretary of the PSGH, Rev. Dennis Sena Awitty advised.

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