WITH AT least, 700,000 people dying each year due to drug-resistant diseases, pharmaceutical giants, Pfizer, have warned against the threats of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) among people.
At a media round table discussion aimed at raising awareness on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and Stewardship on Thursday, August 24, 2023, Medical Director for Pfizer West Africa, Dr. Kodjo Soroh, disclosed that antimicrobial resistance could affect anyone of any age in any country, describing it as a “threat to global health”.
Antimicrobial Resistance 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.
If it continues to rise unchecked, minor infections could become life-threatening, serious infections could become impossible to treat, and many routine medical procedures could become too risky to perform.
“Without action by governments, industry, and society,
AMR is expected to cause 10 million deaths each year by 2050. Overuse of antibiotics is creating stronger germs. Some bacteria are already ‘resistant’ to common antibiotics. When bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, it is often harder and more expensive to treat the infection. Losing the ability to treat serious bacterial infections is a major threat to public health”, he said.
Professor Kwame Ohene Buabeng, a Clinical Pharmacologist and a Professor of Pharmacy Practice at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), lamented that while there are policies and regulations designed to forestall the prevalence of AMR, the enforcement of the regulations has been weakened by a lack of coordination among the various stakeholders in the health sector.
He therefore appealed to various stakeholders in the country’s health sector to join forces to combat the situation before it gets out of hand.
“The problem with the policy implementation is that regulation is quite weak. Oftentimes, we are not able to enforce it because of weak regulation. We need to create awareness and educate the public about the situation. Awareness of the public about the misconceptions and power of anti-biotics. It is a question of being aware of the policies in place and strengthening various institutions that are responsible for the enforcement,” he noted.
Senior Lecturer at the School of Medicine and Dentistry also at KNUST, Dr. Yaw Ampem Amoako, on his part highlighted the importance of antimicrobial stewardship programmes, saying they would “optimize the use of antimicrobials, improve patient outcomes, reduce AM and health-care-associated infections, and save health-care costs amongst others.”
Nii Adjei Mensahfio