European Antibiotic Awareness Day 2018

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Antibiotic resistance is a major concern in hospitals. Diseases that were once feared could now be tamed, not with elaborate potions or poultices but with simple pills.

The WHO agreed with experts around the globe that since the discovery of antibiotics they had served as the cornerstone of modern medicine. But antibiotics like any other therapeutic tool wasn't free from the potential of abuse.

The most frequent antibiotics used across all countries are Amoxicillin and Augmentin.

The publication was timed to coincide with World Antibiotic Awareness Week.

Antibiotics are medicines that combat infections caused by bacteria.

This document provides an introduction to the abundance of multiday messages and material for each day of WAAW and provides guidance on ways to promote and participate in 2018 World Antibiotic Awareness Week.

The launch of the week-long event was attended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative, Dr Owen-Laws Kaluwa, and officials of other organisations such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH), Hope for Future Generation (HFFG) and the Veterinary Department of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. The week of activities, under the theme 'Antibiotic Stewardship: A Call to Action!', running from November 11-16, is meant to help increase awareness of AMR. The pathogens survive, grow and spread their resistance. Repeated and reckless use of antibiotics gives rise to drug-resistant bacteria. Others learn how to pump the medicine out of their system, before it affects them.

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Head of microbiology at the University of the West Indies, Dr Alison Nicholson, highlighted the magnitude of the problem faced when bacteria become resistant to antibiotics.

Why is Antibiotic Resistance Dangerous?

The lack of access to quality assured antibiotics drives people to buy antibiotics without a prescription, something not now captured.

Deaths due to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) could surpass annual cancer fatalities, a situation which the United Nations has called a "global health emergency".

The community also has an important role in preventing antibiotic resistance. Bacteria, not humans or animals, become antibiotic-resistant.

Discovered in the 1920s, antibiotics have saved tens of millions of lives by defeating bacterial diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and meningitis. But even some bacterial infections don't require antibiotics, like sinusitis.

Antibiotics don't work when the pathogen is a virus.

She, however, urged that antibiotics must be used wisely in humans and animals that really need them.

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Follow your doctor's prescription to a T.

Antibiotics are commonly used to treat upper respiratory tract infections like acute bronchitis and bronchiolitis.

Avoid prescribing antibiotics for upper respiratory tract infection.

Never self-medicate with antibiotics.

Continuing pressure from consumers along with increasing frequency of resistance is pushing current antibiotic use techniques to the limits. If we can prevent the spread of germs by following good hand hygiene this will go some way towards reducing the need for antibiotics.

Prepare food hygienically and separate cooked from the uncooked.

Ms Yvonne Esseku, the Vice President of PSGH, called on all stakeholders to do their part to preserve "the antibiotics that we have". The newer antibiotics have been found to be less effective, have more side effects, cost more, and contribute to antibiotic resistance.

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