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Antimicrobial resistance needs attention from Government: Experts

‘World Antibiotic Awareness Week’ walk was organized by DUHS chaired by Prof Amjad Siraj Memon, Principal of Dow Medical College

KARACHI- A World Antibiotic Awareness Week was organized by Dow Medical College in collaboration with Dr Ruth KM Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi, World Health Organization and National Institute of Health. The event was chaired by Prof Amjad Siraj Memon, Principal of Dow Medical College. Dr Aziz Ullah Dhallo was also among the particpants. Earlier, public awareness walk was started from the Arag Auditorium and ended at clock tower, Sadar.

Dr Amjad Siraj Memon, while speaking as the Chief Guest, said that antimicrobial resistance caused an estimated 700,000 deaths globally, each year. By 2050, if the issue was left unaddressed, the number was projected to rise to 10 million.He emphasized that the general practitioners usually prescribed third generation or double strength antibiotics for flu and fever. Pharmaceutical companies and healthcare workers should guide the junior doctors to prescribe antibiotics appropriately and according to international and national guidelines. Pharmacists also needed to educate the patients about the importance of complying with prescribed treatment regimens. They should also be careful themselves while promoting the double strength and third generation antibiotics.

The Chief Guest said that the Sindh Government was playing a central role in developing and implementing national policies to address antimicrobial resistance. He highlighted the issue that one should also take care of the cleanliness of the water tanks at homes. If the water tanks were not cleaned after every six months, it could cause bacterial infections and other skin diseases. People usually used filtered water for drinking purposes but they didn’t pay attention to the filtration and cleanliness of the water they used in their daily routine.

Dr Aziz Ullah Dhallo expressed that alarming levels of resistance had been reported in countries at all levels of income. The result of which was that common diseases caused by either bacteria, viruses or fungi started to become untreatable. Lifesaving medical procedures, such as caesarean section, hip replacements and others, were becoming riskier to perform. A growing list of infectious diseases, including pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhea, and food-borne diseases, were also becoming harder, and sometimes impossible, to treat.

He further told that although drug resistance occurred naturally with the use of antimicrobials, many interrelated factors accelerated the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance. These factors include the misuse of antimicrobials by animal and agricultural sectors, inadequate access to clean water, poor sanitation and hygiene in health care facilities, farms, schools, households and community settings, poor infection prevention, lack of equitable access to quality-assured antimicrobial vaccines and diagnostics. Accordingly, the burden of infectious diseases in animals and humans were increasing which contributed to the emergence and spread of drug-resistant pathogens.

He emphasized to take an urgent action without which the impact of antimicrobial resistance would be disastrous. A sustained “One Health” approach and response was essential to engage and unite all stakeholders around a shared vision and common goals.

He concluded his speech by instructing the farm owners and workers in the animal health sector and agriculture to stop using antibiotics to prevent diseases. He also encouraged them to vaccinate animals to reduce the need for antibiotics. Individuals should also seek medical advice for antibiotic treatment, avoid self-medication, never share or use leftover antibiotics and avoid infection through vaccination.

November 25, 2019

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