Monday, 28 November, 2022

Antibiotic Resistance

From healer to killer

The surge in antimicrobial resistance (AMR) commonly known as antibiotic resistance has become a matter of great concern as the rate of new antibiotic development is declining. Every year, around 1.5 million people globally die of antibiotic resistance, which compels the World Health Organisation (WHO) to recognise AMR as one of the top ten threats to global health in 2019. Rampant taking of antibiotics without maintaining due time and not completing the course of antibiotics are major reasons for the growing number of antibiotic resistance patients. Repeated and improper use of antibiotics contributes to this process. The poor healthcare standards, chronic and repeated infections, unaffordability of more effective and costly drugs, the habit of self-medication among patients and non-human antibiotic use make Bangladesh more vulnerable than many other countries in the world.

A research finding published a couple of years ago by Johns Hopkins University said that 67% of hospitalised patients in our country received antibiotics, even though in at least 50 % of cases not required. Besides, in rural areas, there is a high prevalence of quack/fake doctors or traditional healers who often prescribe antibiotics not only unnecessarily but also of the newest generation, even when the cause of infection is unknown. Moreover, a large number of unregulated pharmacies are contributing to a great extent by selling antibiotics rampantly without doctors’ prescriptions. In this manner, a health catastrophe was in the making in Bangladesh.

Against this backdrop, it was imperative to strengthen laws to stop the misuse and overuse of antibiotics and, praiseworthily, the government has planned to fulfil this requirement. To check the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, the government is reportedly going to formulate a new law, keeping a provision to revoke the licence of the pharmacies that will be found to sell antibiotics without prescriptions.

However, enacting laws would not be enough to stop the misuse of antibiotics. Along with shutting down the business of unregulated pharmacies through regular monitoring, the government should conduct a series of campaigns to make the masses aware of the issue because it is the common people who have to be alert to keep themselves safe from antibiotic resistance, a silent killer.