Don’t share prescribed antibiotics – PSGH

Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu,Health Minister

Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu,Health Minister

The Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) has asked Ghanaians to desist from sharing prescribed antibiotics with one another to help minimise antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the country.

AMR occurs when bacteria builds resistance to active ingredients in medications prescribed to treat a health condition.

At a press launch of this year’s World Antibiotics Awareness Week (WAAW) in Accra yesterday, the PSGH also cautioned against the purchase of antibiotics from unqualified health workers.

“Be careful of where you purchase your antibiotics. Always insist on a licensed pharmacist to dispense the drug and give you the right prescriptions, where the professional is unavailable please walk away,” Executive Secretary of the PSGH, Rev. Dennis Sena Awitty advised.

Painting the numerous health risks associated with the high antibiotics resistance rate in the country, Rev. Awitty pointed out that “it is now becoming difficult to treat minor infections like tuberculosis even with the combination of four different drugs.

Infections like gonorrhoea, pneumonia and others are now no exception when it comes to AMR and that is equally seen in the veterinary practice which increases the risk of the condition,” he said.

The Executive Secretary attributed the occurrence mainly to the irresponsible and irrational use of antimicrobials and urged the general public to comply with prescriptions given on antibiotics to reduce resistance.

“It is important for consumers to ensure that they use antibiotics only when it has been determined as needed for the management of a condition and also comply with advice given on the use of any antibiotics.

Where patients are not sure of how and when to take their antibiotics or other medications, advice should be sought from a pharmacist or other healthcare professionals,” he cautioned.

Rev. Awitty further called for the strengthening of laboratories in the various health facilities to enable prompt confirmation of suspected infections to aid the selection of appropriate antibiotics.

“Adequate support and investment are needed not only for the discovery of new vaccines and therapies for treatment of infections but also for the development and improvement of diagnostic tools,” he observed.

The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu in a speech read on his behalf expressed confidence the country was on the path to containing the phenomenon of AMR with the policy on “Antimicrobial Use and Resistance and the corresponding National Action Plan (NAP), modelled after the Global Action Plan developed in one health.”

He thus directed regulatory agencies including the Food and Drugs Authority, the Pharmacy Council, the Traditional and Alternate Medicine Council as well as other health professional bodies to step up their game to effectively regulate the access and use of antimicrobials.

Adding his voice to simple practices individuals can do to prevent AMR, the minister asked that Ghanaians “do not put oral or injectable antibiotic powders into open wounds and do not mix it with drinks such as palm wine or others.”

The Country Director of the World Health Organisation, Dr. Owen Kaluwa on his part noted that “if governments, funding agencies and the private sector invest and work together, we should have safe, effective medicines for generations to come.”

This year’s WAAW on the theme; “Think twice, seek advice. Misuse of antibiotics puts us all risk”, aims at encouraging best practices with the use of antibiotics to reduce resistance.

Some activities earmarked for the commemoration include nationwide traditional and social media campaigns to create awareness on the canker as well as conference on AMR to ensure responsible use of the drugs.

 By Abigail Annoh and David Takyi

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