There is an urgent need for the Nigerian nation to take decisive actions to stop the increasing menace of antibiotic resistance in the country, the Chairman/CEO, St. Racheal’s Pharmaceuticals, Pharm. Akinjide Adeosun, and Honorary Consultant Medical Microbiologist & Parasitologist, Lagos State University College of Medicine (LASUCOM), Dr Bamidele Mutiu, have said.
The duo who spoke during a recent media parley to mark the 2018 World Antibiotics Awareness Week (WAAW) warned that if the nation fails to act to preserve the potency of the antibiotics available today, there would be an exponential increase in treatment failures in the years to come.
Speaking at the event held at St. Racheal’s Pharma’s head office in Lekki, Lagos, Pharm. Adeosun said that factors responsible for antibiotic resistance include wrong diagnosis and misapplication of antibiotics by quacks, lack of hygiene and poor sanitation by patients, taking of underdose of antibiotics prescribed for patients, use of counterfeit and substandard antibiotics, self-medication by patients on Prescription-only Medicines (PoM) and low coverage of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
He announced the plan of the company to conduct a Surveillance of Antibiotic Resistance (SOAR) in Nigeria in 2019 to provide doctors with current antibiotic sensitivity pattern to guide in the rational prescription of antibiotics to ensure better treatment outcome for patients and peace of mind for doctors and pharmacists.
On measures that should be taken to tackle antibiotics resistance, the St. Racheal’s boss urged patients to always consult doctors for their health issues and always take prescriptions to pharmacists to get their drugs, as well getting advice on how to use it.
Antibiotics, he said, should always be sourced by doctors and pharmacists from top quality pharmaceutical manufacturers, adding that while the pharmaceutical industry should make new investments in the discovery of new antibiotics, the government should also improve allocation to NHIS to expand Nigerians’ access to healthcare through the scheme.
These measures, Adeosun said, will not only be helping Nigeria but the world in fighting the war against antibiotic resistance and improving rational use and life-expectancy of antibiotics.
On the significance of the WAAW, Adeosun said the week was set aside by WHO to raise awareness of the global menace of irrational use of antibiotics, noting that St. Racheal’s decided to organise the media parley to lend a voice in heightening awareness to preserve the life span of potent antibiotics. The WAAW, he said, would also help encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policy-makers.
Dr Bamidele Mutiu, who is also a senior lecturer at the Department of Medical Microbiology, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) while speaking at the parley, said antibiotic resistance was not a sudden phenomenon but had been growing as a menace for years due to actions and inactions by patients and other stakeholders in healthcare.
Mutiu, who presented a paper on the topic, “Antibiotic Resistance in Nigeria: A Call to Action”, said antibiotic resistance is a relative or lack of effect of antibiotic against a previously susceptible microbe, noting that the big fight that medical practice cannot afford to lose is antibiotics resistance.
While lamenting that no new antibiotics had been discovered in the last 30 years, Mutiu said the use of antibiotics in foods and animal feeds to prevent infection had been found to be contributing to antibiotics resistance in humans who eventually eat the foods.
Mutiu advocated increase in hygiene to prevent transmission of communicable diseases in all healthcare settings, stressing that all hospitals must have infection-control programmes to prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance infections through the hospitals.
The therapeutic benefit of antibiotics, he said, should also be balanced with their unintended adverse consequences, while antibiotics prescribing should also be prudent, thoughtful and rational.