#Editorial

AMR: race against time!

Nov 19, 2020, 10:31 AM

AMR is one of the biggest threats to modern medicine and the global economy, yet millions of people are unaware of its potentially catastrophic implications.

This growing global threat has far-reaching implications on global health and the world economy.

What makes it an utmost concern in The Gambia is that there is no established antimicrobial surveillance system in place, according to officials. Government need to do more to have a fully functioning antimicrobial surveillance system in place for a timely response.

If the current figure about AMR infection is anything to go by more work is needed to curtail this globally alarming health problem.

It is projected that going by the current rate by 2050 an estimated 10 million deaths is evident if no actions are taken.

Therefore, all hands must be on deck by using antibiotics prescribed by a licenced health professional and completing the full prescribed course. We should also remember that misuse of and abuse of antimicrobials is like we doing more harm than good.

There is also the need for greater improvements in water and sanitation infrastructure in order to tackle AMR.

Antimicrobials are the most frequently reported substandard and falsified medicines, according to officials, and these substandard products are a key driver of antimicrobial resistance.

This, however, reminds us about the surge in the proliferation of counterfeit drugs or fake drugs in local markets and street corners across Africa. In these local markets, people are buying antibiotics of un-assured quality, without prescriptions.

Imagine, for instance, Covid-19 is caused by a viral disease not by bacteria, and therefore antibiotics should not be used to prevent or treat viral infection unless bacterial infections are also present.

Yet, during the advent of Covid-19, some misuse these antibiotics, leading to accelerated emergence and spread of antimicrobials resistance.

By that, we are doing more harm than good to our own health. Some of these vendors have little or no background experience in medicines and yet they are allowed to operate freely. 

It is high time governments also monitor and regulate these local drugs stores around for the good of the populace. If no strict measures are taken, the issue of counterfeit and even anti resistant drugs will continue to be a public health issue.

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Mazie Hirono

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