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Experts Identify Causes of Antibiotic Resistance

Posted by By Godwin Haruna on 2004/11/25 | Views: 3107 |

Experts Identify Causes of Antibiotic Resistance


Lack of adequate diagnostic facilities and poor education of doctors on appropriate use of antibiotics have been identified as factors responsible for the growing resistance of disease-causing organisms to most of the antibiotics in Nigeria and other countries in the West African sub region.

Lack of adequate diagnostic facilities and poor education of doctors on appropriate use of antibiotics have been identified as factors responsible for the growing resistance of disease-causing organisms to most of the antibiotics in Nigeria and other countries in the West African sub region.

Experts at a workshop on antibiotic resistance, sponsored by the multinational pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline Nigeria Limited (GSK), noted that using antibacterial agents or dosages that allow bacterial persistence increases the risk of recurrence and relapse and the potential for the selection for resistance.

In a paper at the workshop, Prof. Javier Garau, an associate professor of medicine, University of Bacelonia and Head of the Department of Medicine at Hospital de Terrassam Bacelona Spain, said antibiotic resistance had increased to an all-time high worldwide just as prescription had also increased at an all-time high level.

Garau also warned against inappropriate antibiotic prescribing. According to him, prescribing antibiotics for infections not caused by bacteria does not have clinical benefit, rather, he said, the practice promotes resistance, causing unnecessary adverse reactions.

Speaking on the six principles for the appropriate prescribing of antibiotics, Garau said the objective of the principles was to optimise therapy to reduce morbidity, therapeutic failure and cost and prevent resistance emergence.

He disclosed that the principles specifically targeted respiratory tract infections (RTI) because 80 per cent of antibiotics were often prescribed for RTIs.

"Reducing inappropriate antibiotic prescribing through the principles will require education of physicians and patients towards a change in behaviour, an understanding of the impact on resistance, time and resources - money," he added.

In a paper titled "Nigeria: antibiotic resistance, practice and clinical issues in RTI therapy," a medical microbiologist at the National Hospital, Abuja, Dr. Kenneth Iregbu said policies would enhance a rational use of antibiotics in the country, control spread of resistant strains, check wastages and the burden of unwanted effects.

He blamed the growing incidence of antibiotic resistance on lack of education on the part of doctors on the appropriate use of antibiotics and unrestrained access of the people to the drugs.

"Most drugs in Nigeria are available over the counter without doctor's prescription leading to antibiotic abuse. There is also the problem of fake drugs due to the lucrative nature of pharmaceutical drug sales," he further said.

In a paper titled Ghana: antibiotic resistance, practice and clinical issues in RTI therapy, a professor of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics, University of Ghana and consultant physician, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra, Ghana, Prof. Kenneth Adjepon-Yamoah noted that the problem of antibiotic misuse and overuse is a common occurrence worldwide.

According to him, the problem is worse in Ghana because a large number of non-medically trained persons are delivering health services. Earlier in his welcome address, the Vice President and Managing Director of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) West and Central Africa, Mr. Karim El-Alaoui expressed concern about the emergence of antibiotic resistance, adding that the company had led the rest of the pharmaceutical industry in providing positive solutions to the problem. He disclosed that GSK is funding a range of microbial susceptibility surveys in over 50 countries, including the Alexander Network initiated in 1992 and solely funded by the company. "GlaxoSmithKline currently occupies a leadership position in many therapeutic classes and is undoubtedly a leading healthcare company in the management and treatment of bacterial infections. We are not relenting in our efforts to fulfill this mission," he said. In another paper, the GSK Marketing and Business Development Director, Mr. Greig Baines observed that resistance to antibiotics is increasing rapidly in the West African region as in other parts of the world. According to him, the trend has reached to the attention of governments, regulatory agencies and other stakeholders adding that GSK is opposed to unnecessary and inappropriate use of antibiotics, the main factors responsible for resistance.

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