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Public refusal of drug prescription linked to rising threat of antimicrobial resistance

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The escalating threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been attributed to the public’s reluctance to adhere to drug prescriptions. Lawrence Atongo, Doctor of Pharmacy and Vice Chairman of the Upper East Regional chapter of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana, has noted that the improper use of antibiotics in both human and animal healthcare has expedited the emergence of resistant strains. This renders once-effective treatments less potent or entirely ineffective.

“We have observed a significant misuse of antibiotics. For instance, a prescribed treatment duration may be two days, but if the disease persists, patients may either succumb or be referred to another facility due to drug misuse. Antimicrobials should be used as per the prescribed dosage and treatment duration by a professional. If prescribed for a week, refrain from discontinuing after two days, claiming improvement,” emphasized Dr. Atongo during a symposium at the Upper East Regional Hospital, held to commemorate Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Week.

Dr. Atongo urged the public to seek professional advice for healthcare needs, cautioning against self-prescription based on others’ experiences. “Don’t assume a medication worked for a friend or relative with a similar illness and self-administer the same treatment,” he added.

Antimicrobial resistance occurs when bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi evolve to resist the effects of medications designed to eliminate them. This resistance, exacerbated by concerns about antibiotic misuse and overuse, underscores the urgent need for a collective effort to address the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance.

Dr. Bertha Gibil, a Pediatrician at the regional hospital, further explained that antimicrobial resistance can also result from the transmission of infections from animals to humans. “Animals can serve as a reservoir for infections, with vectors affecting both animals and humans. Therefore, resistance originating from animals can impact humans,” Dr. Gibil emphasized.

Dr. Gibil highlighted the pivotal role of prescribers in addressing antimicrobial resistance, emphasizing the importance of taking a comprehensive patient history and conducting investigations to identify specific organisms and their sensitivity to drugs. This approach ensures that treatment is tailored to the specific infection rather than relying on a one-size-fits-all solution.

Source: A1Radioonline.com | 101.1MHz | Bolgatanga | Ghana

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