Antimicrobial resistance, cause of 700,000 deaths per year: Experts

Antibiotic resistance is the ability of bacteria to defeat the drugs designed to kill them making them superbugs. The inability of antibiotics to kill these superbugs may result in difficulty to treat infections. 


Karachi- The World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) 2018 was observed from November 12th to November 18th.

In connection to this awareness week, Pfizer Pakistan expressed their commitment towards fighting the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which has been affecting people globally.

Medical experts have revealed that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has resulted in 700,000 deaths across the world. It has been reported that the number of deaths would reach up to 10 million by year 2050, if preventive measures are not taken in time.

AMR can affect anyone, regardless of their age or surroundings. It occurs when pathogens change and find ways to resist the effects of antibiotics. Such pathogens survive, grow and spread their resistance, leading to AMR.

If no solution is found, severe consequences of AMR could unfold. Due to AMR, minor infections and injuries could become life-threatening, and serious infections such as pneumonia could become untreatable. Furthermore, it was mentioned that various routine medical procedures could be too risky to perform, due to the risk of acquiring secondary infection.

Country Manager, Pfizer Pakistan, Mr SM Wajeeh, stated that; “We at Pfizer are fully cognizant of this important issue of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and have been working with relevant stakeholders to make our contribution towards managing it. On this occasion, we are pleased to partner with Medical Microbiology and Infectious Disease Society of Pakistan (MMIDSP), which is leading the way for creating awareness on AMR in Pakistan. Pfizer’s core values remain focused on our patients’ wellness, and we are working together on projects that positively impacts health in Pakistan.”

President MMIDSP, Dr Aamer Ikram, spoke about the Medical Microbiology and Infectious Disease Society of Pakistan (MMIDSP) and its initiatives to curb antimicrobial resistance (AMR) through ‘Antibiotic Stewardship Initiative in Pakistan’ (ASIP).

This Infectious Disease Society of Pakistan has organized various events in collaboration with Pfizer Pakistan for creating awareness and providing training at both institutional and community levels, addressing the matter of overusing antibiotics, leading to AMR.

The society has also reached out to major stakeholders and policy makers within and outside the government for collaborating in tackling AMR at a national level.

On another occasion based on WAAW 2018 observation, Consultant Diseases at Indus Hospital, Karachi, Dr Tahreem Ansari said that antibiotic resistance is the ability of bacteria to defeat the drugs designed to kill them making them superbugs. The inability of antibiotics to kill these superbugs may result in difficulty to treat infections.

“Failure of antibiotics to work has economical, physical and psychological impacts. It can cause illnesses to last longer, requiring frequent doctor visits, extended hospital stays and treatment with expensive antibiotics. In some cases, the antibiotic-resistant infections can lead to organ failure or even death,” Dr Tahreem added.

Prof. Dr Khalid Hussain Mahida said antibiotics are not effective against viral infections like the common cold, flu, most sore throats, bronchitis, and many sinus and ear infections. Widespread use of antibiotics for these illnesses is an example of how overuse of antibiotics can promote the spread of antibiotic resistance. Smart use of antibiotics is key to controlling the spread of resistance.

He added that In Pakistan 88.9% rate of unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions are for self-limiting Upper Respiratory Tract infections.

He stressed that people should only use antibiotics when prescribed by a certified health professional and should always take the full prescription, even if you feel better during the course, because not completing the prescribed dosage will help bacteria to become antibiotic resistant.

November 17, 2018

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