Antibiotic misuse

A collective effort is needed to this end

Published : 24 Nov 2023 10:00 PM | Updated : 25 Nov 2023 12:33 AM

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday warned that without immediate intervention, resistance to antimicrobials -- which includes antibiotics -- could lead to up to 10 million deaths worldwide by 2050.

The misuse of antibiotics is denting their efficacy and spawning resistant bacteria. Therefore, antibiotic resistance is destroying the immunity of the human body and subsequently making the human body vulnerable to many communicable diseases.

According to WHO’s study, antibiotics were prescribed for things like common cold (24 percent of cases), flu-like symptoms (16 percent), a sore throat (21 percent) and a cough (18 percent). The survey was carried out in 14 countries, mostly in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

While AMR (antimicrobial resistance) is a natural phenomenon, the development and spread of superbugs are being accelerated by the misuse of antimicrobials, rendering infections more challenging to treat effectively. In some countries, over 40 percent of antibiotics were used without medical advice. 

In Bangladesh, multi-drug resistance in bacteria has increased by 14 percent over the last seven years, and most of them are getting even more resistant to certain antibiotics, according to a national AMR (antimicrobial resistance) surveillance report. The study says, MDR resistance, which was at 71 percent in 2017, had risen to 82 percent by June this year. Over time, most bacteria are developing increasing resistance to antibiotics, particularly the frequently used ones.

Physicians should play a key role in reducing antibiotic usage to promote a healthy life. So, the health experts and physicians will have to increase research and laboratory facilities to this end.

Over 40 percent of

 antibiotics were 

used without 

medical advice

We all should adhere to infection prevention practices. Solely relying on antibiotic use would not prevent the rapid increase of AMR. A collective effort is required in this regard.

Read More: Antibiotics resistance growing at alarming rate

The authorities, including the Drug Administration, will have to take measures to curb the aggressive marketing tactics employed by pharmaceutical companies that encourage the indiscriminate prescription of antibiotics. Besides, integrated efforts of all the government and non-government entities and others concerned can be the best way of stopping further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance as its consequence is very much hazardous to the public health.

All sorts of overrated and frequent uses of antibiotics in the human body as well as in all other domestic animals like cattle, goats, poultry birds and fish are always harmful. So, effective and meaningful steps should be taken to stop the unethical uses of antibiotics at once.

Besides, all will have to take extensive mass awareness programmes on this burning issue immediately. All sectors concerned should encourage the prudent use of antimicrobials and strengthen preventive measures besides working together through a One Health approach.

We think the government will prevent antibiotic resistance. The authorities concerned will cooperate with the government’s efforts collectively. There is no alternative to stop the use of antibiotics without prescription to ensure a sound public health.

So, the government should launch effective antimicrobial surveillance in human, fish and poultry birds through undertaking an integrated programme.