THE world is facing a major antimicrobial resistance with about 700,000 deaths annually. And, time is running out to find a solution to this problem.
Health Ministry deputy director-general Datuk Dr Azman Abu Bakar said it was time to engage, educate and empower the people on the perils of antimicrobial resistance to safeguard the health of the future generations.
“The national surveillance on antibiotics resistance report showed a major spike in antimicrobial resistance cases, including pneumonia, tuberculosis and typhoid.
“The major issue we are facing is overuse or improper usage of antibiotics by patients and doctors who prescribe them readily,” said Dr Azman during his keynote address when opening the Northern Region Seminar on Antimicrobial Resistance “Challenges and Responses” at Penang Hospital yesterday.
Dr Azman said the government campaign, ‘Antibiotik Perlukah?’, to counter the improper use of antibiotics had become a major challenge as people expected doctors to prescribe them even if it was not needed.
“It’s a simple case where patients do not question if he or she needs the antibiotics where a normal illness could be cured with other generic medicines.
“A major issue which we faced earlier was when antibiotics were readily available over the counter in pharmacies.
“However, this issue was solved when we enforced the rule that it can only be bought with a doctor’s prescription or the pharmacies risk losing their licences.”
Dr Azman said outpatient clinics did not have facilities like hospitals to check if a patient really needed antibiotics.
However, he said a “flawed past” should not stop the medical industry from fighting deadly infections caused by antimicrobial resistance and doctors should stop working in silos to solve the problem.
“We all know it’s a big threat and all resources should be consolidated and optimised on how best to overcome this situation and counter the ‘superbugs’,” added Dr Azman.
The one-day seminar was organised by the Health Ministry, Third World Network and Consumers Association of Penang to mark World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2018.
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