The Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana has cautioned the public against the continuous abuse of antibiotics, saying the practice can lead to resistance against diseases and consequently death.
It also called for the laws governing the use of antibiotics in the country to be strengthened and for the regulatory authorities to ensure that people who did not need antibiotics did not get access to them.
According to the Vice-President of the society, Kwabena Offei Asante, “there is significant abuse of many antibiotics in the country, and one of the ways in which people are abusing them is not completing the full dosage”.
“The long-term effect is that a disease that you could have cured with medicine ‘A’ will not respond to the medicine and so you will require more expensive antibiotics to treat it,” he added.
Mr. Asante gave the caution at the launch of the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) in Accra yesterday.
The WAAW is a global campaign commemorated from November 14 to 24, every year to improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
AMR occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines, making infections harder to treat, thereby increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illnesses and death.
According to research, AMR in bacteria caused an estimated 1.27 million deaths in 2019.
Mr Asante said because of the dangers resistance to antibiotics caused, there was the need for more education and awareness creation on their use.
He urged the public to seek advice from pharmacists or qualified healthcare professionals before taking medicines, especially antibiotics.
Threat to health
The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Kwaku Afriyie, described AMR as one of the greatest threats to health and development.
He said although the country had made some strides in the management of HIV/AIDS, the phenomenon of AMR posed a danger to achieving the desired targets.
A Deputy Minister of Health, Mahama Asei Seini, also said the misuse of antimicrobials made abusers more vulnerable.
The Director of Pharmaceutical Services, Ghana Health Service, Dr Bismark Attah-Adjepong, called on health practitioners to ensure that antimicrobial medications were duly prescribed, dispensed appropriately and used rationally.
For her part, the Director of Pharmacy at the MoH, Dr Joycelyn Azeez, urged all to get involved in creating awareness of antimicrobials.
There were messages from the World Health Organisation, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and other development partners.