World Health Organization maps unsafe misuse of antibiotics

Misuse of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance

The world Health Organization warned Monday 12 November against the rise in risky, the consumption of antibiotics in some countries, but also under-consumption in other regions, leading to the emergence of "superbugs" life-threatening.

This is complicating treatments for diseases such as Staphylococcus aureus, HIV and malaria, and drug-resistant infections are already causing up to 50,000 deaths each year in Europe and the US alone.

Monday's overview, for instance, includes only four countries in Africa, three in the Middle East and six in the Asia-Pacific region.

A growing list of infections such as pneumonia, TB, blood poisoning and gonorrhoea are becoming harder to treat as antibiotics become less effective because of overuse.

Irresponsible use of antibiotics, including wrong prescriptions, inappropriate self-medication and over-the-counter sale of antibiotics from unlicensed and unapproved outlets have been identified as the major causes of AMR.

The WHO introduced a classification system past year, saying penicillin-type drugs were recommended as the first line of defence, and that other drugs, on the "reserve" list, were a last resort and only for use when absolutely necessary.

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In collecting data for this report, the health authority of Côte d'Ivoire detected weaknesses in the management of medicine supply. Other countries, such as Bangladesh, plan to use consumption data to improve quality assurance of medicines by prioritizing quality controls for the most sold products and packages.

A report today from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows a wide range in the amount of antibiotics being consumed in different countries.The report, released on the first day of World Antibiotic Awareness Week, found that overall antibiotic consumption in 65 countries in 2015 ranged from 4.4 defined daily doses (DDD) to 64.4 per 1,000 inhabitants per day, a 16-fold difference. Sixteen of these countries have contributed to this first report and many more are expected to contribute to the global data in the next few years.

Anti-microbial resistance occurs when bacteria are no longer affected by the antibiotics they were previously susceptible to or when micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses and some parasites stop the antimicrobials from working against them.

WHO has warned on numerous occasions that the number of effective antibiotics in the world is declining, while the superbugs number is increasing. And as a result of infection with drug-resistant bacteria an estimated 700,000 people die each year worldwide.

Low consumption levels in some countries may indicate that people have limited access to these medicines but may also indicate weak systems for the supply of antibiotics.

Moreover, the lack of access to quality assured antibiotics pushes individuals to buy antibiotics without a prescription, and this variable is not now captured by the surveillance system. She added, "Since the rates of antibiotic resistance and the rates of antibiotic consumption as well as infection prevention practices vary from country to country, it is essential to tailor strategies to address specific needs".

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