The World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) party has been launched in Accra by the Minister for health, Hon. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, with a name on stakeholders to do greater to win the battle in opposition to microbes threatening the life of people.
He said that the emergence and increasing spread of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) continue to be a major public health concern associated with serious consequences for the treatment of infections ultimately affecting both economic and social development.
Speaking on the theme: “The Future of Antibiotics Depends on all of us”, Hon. Agyeman-Manu said the theme for the celebration provides the world with an opportunity to reflect on some unhealthy and unhygienic practices and the basic interventions employed to prevent infections, and for that matter misuse of antibiotics.
He attributed the major causes of resistance to antibiotic to irresponsible use, incorrect medical indications, inappropriate self-medication, non-adherence to therapy, over-the-counter sale of antibiotics from unlicensed medicine and unapproved outlets, inappropriate use in animals, poor infection prevention practices such as hand washing and inappropriate waste disposal, which he said, must be tackled with all seriousness.
The Hon. Minister also touched on the increasing number of substandard and counterfeit medicines, weak governance and regulatory systems and the supply chain integrity of antibiotics, which he noted, compounds the AMR problem.
He advised the public to seek advice from qualified medical practitioners before using antibiotics, stop the practice of putting oral or injectable antibiotics into open wounds, and avoid mixing antibiotics with drinks such as palm wine among other things.
The World Health Organization Representative to Ghana, Dr. Neena Kimambo, said the theme for the celebration brings into sharp focus the need for all stakeholders to put in the effort to stem the tide of antimicrobial resistance.
AMR, she said, endangers health security and progress with SDGs towards Universal Health Coverage, by threatening to reverse medical advances of the twentieth century.
“The silent pandemic is already leading to 700,000 deaths worldwide each year. Left unchecked, AMR could cause up to 10 million deaths annually by 2050, Dr. Kimambo said.
She, therefore, urged the government to further resource national plans, strengthen AMR governance, facilitate multisectoral collaboration, and increase access to clean water and sanitation.
The Deputy Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Anthony Ofosu said antibiotics save lives and are critical tools for treating a number of diseases. However, it is the irrational use of antibiotics that has led to the development of antimicrobial resistance.
He assured the public of Ghana Health Service’s commitment to play its role in the fight against antimicrobial resistance and to keep the future generation safe.
The Chief Director of the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), said simple activities such as keeping a clean environment, regular washing of hands, avoid the use of antibiotics unless prescribed among other things, will contribute to the fight against AMR.