700,000 people die from drug-resistant infections, yearly says expert

700,000 people die from drug-resistant infections, yearly says expert
700,000 people die from drug-resistant infections, yearly says expert

Reports by our Correspondent say that the Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), on Friday, celebrated the Antimicrobial Awareness Week with a call for increased awareness on various antimicrobial agents used for the treatment of infections.

Dr. Igunma Jeremiah, a Consultant Clinical Microbiologist and Infection Control Physician at the university, made the call during an event to mark the week, in conjunction with the Departments of Pharmacy, Family Medicine/General practice clinic (GPC), Clinical Pharmacology unit as well as the Association of Resident Doctors, with sponsorship from the management of UBTH and Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.

Accordingly, this year’s Awareness Week, with the theme: “Preventing antimicrobial resistance together” had in attendance, members of the Local Organising Committee including Dr. Osaigbovo Iriagbonse; Dr. Adebowale Afolabi Joseph; Dr. Yowin Edit and others.

Explaining the import of the event, Dr. Jeremiah said marking the week was a global event celebrated between November 18 and 24, yearly, adding that
the event was intended to increase awareness on antimicrobial agents used for the treatment of infections.

According to him, “Antibiotics have saved millions of lives, and estimates show that they increase the average human lifespan by 23 years.”

He pointed out further: They continue to be an essential tool in modern medicine. However, the benefits derived from this magic bullet are speedily being eroded by the continual emergence and spread of genes, which cause antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

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In his view, “Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when disease-causing micro-organisms mutate over time, meaning that they are harder to treat because they can resist the drug’s effects even when it is of adequate composition, taken at the appropriate dose, for the correct duration and for the right disease condition. This results in bacterial infections becoming more difficult to treat, or in some cases, impossible.

Continuing he said, “AMR is not a problem of the future, it is a present, though sometimes hidden, danger.
Already, at least, 700,000 people die annually from drug-resistant infections. By 2050 drug-resistant microbes could lead to ten million deaths annually if appropriate measures are not taken. This silent pandemic must be addressed as a matter of urgency, or the death toll will continue unabated.

It was pointed out that, “The common reasons why AMR develops and spreads include Antibiotic Misuse (for example patients taking antibiotics when they have a common cold which is viral in origin). Overuse of antibiotics in livestock and fish farming. Lack of clean water and sanitation which encourages the spread of disease-causing germs. Inadequate infection prevention and control, especially in health facilities, and Counterfeit drugs.”

Dr. Jeremiah also said that preventing antimicrobial resistance requires a concerted effort and collaboration among practitioners of human health, animal husbandry and environmental health, stressing that, “together, we can avert the catastrophe occasioned by AMR.”

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