By Oluwafunke Ishola
A Professor of Clinical Microbiology, Oyinlola Oduyebo, has appealed to medical practitioners to conduct laboratory investigations before prescribing antibiotics to patients to reduce Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) incidence.
Oduyebo of the Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, College of
Medicine, Idi-Araba, Lagos, said this during a virtual Antimicrobial Stewardship media roundtable organised by Pfizer on Tuesday.
AMR happens when germs like bacteria and fungi develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), inappropriate use of antibiotics is a key driver of AMR, and this misuse or overuse of drugs remains a global public health threat.
WHO said AMR was a threat especially in middle-low-income countries like Nigeria where medicines are accessible without prescriptions and laboratory based diagnosis was not routine.
The United Nations estimates that by 2050, about 10 million deaths could be caused by superbugs and associated forms of antimicrobial resistance, matching the annual global death toll of cancer.
Oduyebo noted that proper management of antibiotic use requires an evidence-based approach, prescriptively applied in a health care setting to an individual patient’s situation.
She said that research has shown that targeted therapy (therapy based on laboratory results) was less than five per cent in some hospitals in the country.
“Which means that for every 100 antibiotics prescribed by medical doctors, laboratory tests were done on only five of them.
“We need to encourage our doctors to carry out appropriate investigations so that we could aim our antibiotics at the microbe causing the infection we want to treat,” she said.
To prevent and control the spread of antibiotic resistance in humans, Oduyebo said that concerted efforts in antimicrobial stewardship
would be required from healthcare workers, policy makers and individuals.
Antimicrobial stewardship is a coordinated programme that promotes the appropriate use of antimicrobials (including antibiotics), improves patient outcomes, reduces microbial resistance, and decreases the spread of infections caused by multidrug-resistant organisms.
On individual’s role in promoting antimicrobial stewardship, Oduyebo advised that only antibiotics prescribed by a certified health professional should be used by patients.
She also advised them to always follow doctor’s prescription, and never share or use leftover antibiotics.
Oduyebo appealed to policy makers to pursue a robust national action plan to tackle antibiotic resistance and improve surveillance of antibiotic-resistant infections.
She urged them to strengthen policies, programmes, and implementation of infection prevention and control measures, and make information on the impact of antibiotic resistance available to the public.
She advised that every hospital must have an antimicrobial stewardship programme that ensures that antibiotics policies or guidelines are judiciously followed.
“Not all hospitals have antibiotics guidelines. Antibiotics stewardship is topical now and relatively new in Nigeria.
“Although some hospitals have come on board, some are yet to start their programme.
“The Federal Government through the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control is encouraging all hospitals to develop their antibiotics programmes and practice antibiotics stewardship,” she said.
She appealed to pharmaceutical industry to invest in research and development of new antibiotics, vaccines, diagnostics and other tools.
Similarly, Prof. Kennedy Wariso, Medical Microbiologist, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, said that AMR was a threat to global public health as it increases morbidity and mortality, and associated with high economic costs due to its health care burden.
Wariso said that the Nigeria National Action Plan for Antimicrobial Resistance, showed that misuse of antibiotics was common with 42 per cent of adults.
He added that 46.7 per cent to 71.1 per cent of children within five years were given antibiotics without prescription.
Woriso advised the public to stop self prescription, antibiotics misuse and abuse, to reduce the country’s AMR burden.
Also, Dr Kodjo Soroh, Medical Director, sub-Saharan Africa, Pfizer, said the meeting was to create awareness about antimicrobial stewardship and ensure ongoing patient safety in order to maintain the future effectiveness of antibiotics.
Soroh said AMR was one of the biggest threats to global health as it could affect anyone, of any age, in any country.
“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.
“More and more common diseases, including respiratory tract infections, sexually transmitted infections and urinary tract infections are untreatable; lifesaving medical procedures are becoming much riskier, and our food systems are increasingly precarious.
“Pfizer’s position is that governments and the public health community must
work together with industry to take further action and support measures that will enable continued innovation in the development of new antibiotics and vaccines to help curb the spread of AMR,” Soroh said. (NAN) (nannews.ng)
Edited by Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma