Why Antibiotic Resistance Matters To You
July 10, 2019
Writer Fisayomi Aturamu considers how we should really be looking at antibiotic resistance in the article below
Quite interestingly, some women use antibiotics like Ampiclox as contraception. Ampiclox is to Bacteria what Contraceptives are to Sperm. This also mean sperm is not a bacteria. In this article, we explain what antibiotics are and the safest ways to administer them. Read on.
Antibiotics are a group of medicines containing substances that kill bacteria or prevent their growth and multiplication.
They are used to treat a variety of infections because of this antibacterial action. Antibiotics work through different means.
Antibiotics cannot cure viral infections such as the common cold.
Growing up, almost every household I visited had a mini-dispensary. Ours was by a corner in the dining room.
It was filled with various over-the-counter medications like Paracetamol, Analgin, etc. and prescription drugs collected from several members of the family who failed to complete their dosage.
Anytime I or my brother had a cold, fever, headache, stomach ache, or felt tired, my mom would play doctor and give us something from her stash.
However, later on, getting into university, I discovered that this practice is wrong and dangerous.
I am currently a medical student at the University of Lagos. I learned about the effects of antibiotic abuse and non-compliance in my third year during my microbiology classes.
Ever since I have been trying to enlighten people about antibiotic resistance resulting from the abuse of medication and failure to take them properly (‘non-compliance).
Some other causes of antibiotic resistance include poor drug formulations (otherwise called “fake drugs”) and over-prescription of antibiotics by healthcare professionals.
In my second year, I moved into the university hostel where I made a lot of new friends.
Sometimes after school, we would all sit in the common room to gist.
It was on one of such occasions that I found out that some girls used Ampiclox as emergency contraception.
This was really shocking to me because I could not understand the rationale for this. Sperm is not bacteria so using an antibiotic would not prevent pregnancy.
I also discovered that some people regard antibiotics as some form of ‘blood purifier’ and would regularly take antibiotics purchased from neighbourhood pharmacies, all in a bid to ‘flush their system’.
And when antibiotics are prescribed by a doctor e.g. for a urinary tract infection, they hardly comply with the dose and complete the advised course because they believe that antibiotics ‘dry up the blood’.
Therefore, they abandon their medication as soon as they start to feel better.
Tony, a 3rd-year law student narrated how he and a friend were on a bus to Ikorodu(somewhere in southwest Nigeria) sometime back with a local drug hawker on board.
Apparently, the hawker mentioned a lot of symptoms like body pains, headaches, blurry vision, etc. and attributed the cause of all these problems to ‘Staphylococcus aureus’ which he had called ‘sta-locus erus’.
A lot of the passengers patronized him that day.
Sadly, the discussion with my friends at the hostel that day reflects our society’s attitude towards the use of antibiotics.
This is what happens when bacteria become immune to the effects of an antibiotic to which they were once susceptible.
This means that the antibiotic is no longer able to destroy a germ that it was previously able to.
The World Health Organisation regards antibiotic resistance as one of the three major public health problems of the 21st century.
Fortunately, some of the causes of antibiotic resistance can be prevented.
• Strengthen regulatory enforcement to prevent substandard antibiotic formulation (fake drugs) by manufacturers, importers and distributors
• Strengthen regulatory enforcement to prevent the activities of quacks and unauthorized vendors of antibiotics and other prescription medications
•Educate the general public on the dangers of antibiotics misuse
• Strengthen antibiotics stewardship and pharmacovigilance on the part of doctors, pharmacists, nurses and other healthcare practitioners
While antibiotic resistance is already a big problem in our society, we all have a role to play in curbing this threat to global health.
In developing countries like Nigeria, antibiotic resistance is of even greater significance with causes that are both complicated and multifactorial.⁷
The good news is that it is never too late to make a change.
Edited by AskAwayHealth Team
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