Raising public awareness on the use of antimicrobial drugs

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a natural occurrence exhibited by organisms/microbes namely; bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa. The emergence of AMR is accelerated by misuse, overuse and underuse of antimicrobial drugs. As a result, the microbes no longer respond to antimicrobial drugs they were previously sensitive to thus increasing the burden of disease, longer hospital stays, increased cost of treatment and death. Studies have shown that, globally, approximately 700, 000 people have died from infections that were previously treatable by existing antimicrobial drugs. If antimicrobial drugs are not used rationally, approximately 10 million people could die from drug resistant infections by the year 2050.

Antimicrobial drugs are used to treat diseases/infections caused by organisms mentioned above and are further classified as below:

  • Antibiotics – are drugs used to treat infections caused by bacteria e.g., TB.
  • Antivirals – are drugs used to treat infections caused by viruses e.g. HIV, COVID 19 and Hepatitis B.
  • Antifungals – are drugs used to treat infections caused by fungi e.g. ring worms
  • Antiparasitics – are drugs used to treat infections caused by parasites e.g., malaria

Do’s and Don’ts of using antimicrobial drugs:

  • Do not take antimicrobial drugs without the advice of a qualified medical professional.

Self-medication is not safe as it increases chances of inappropriate self-diagnosis, incorrect choice of antimicrobial drugs, inadequate dosage, potential for developing allergic reactions and the likelihood of increased resistance to microbes. Diseases caused by resistant microbes usually costs more treat, increases hospital stay and can cause death.

  • Get your antimicrobial drugs using a valid prescription ONLY from registered pharmacies/chemists, clinics and hospitals.

Accessing antimicrobial drugs using a valid prescription allows you to receive the right antimicrobial, for the right diagnosis and at the recommended dosages considering any allergies associated with the choice of the antimicrobial.

  • Ensure you complete the full dose of antimicrobial drugs prescribed to you.

Completing a full dose of antimicrobials prescribed ensures that disease causing microbes are cleared off your body. Do not stop taking medicines prescribed for you when disease symptoms improve.

  • Return unused antimicrobial drugs to the pharmacy/chemist where it was obtained from or take them to the nearest clinic/hospital.

Incorrectly disposed antimicrobial drugs can find their way into human bodies through contaminated water bodies, plants, livestock and fish. This promotes the emergence of more resistant microbes that are difficult and expensive to treat.

  • Do not keep antimicrobial drugs at home for purposes of future use.

Storing antimicrobial drugs at home for future use may promote inappropriate storage, self- medication, poor compliance and use of antimicrobial drugs that have been stored past their expiry date.

  • Do not share antimicrobial drugs with friends or relatives.

Do not share antimicrobial drugs with friends and families as this may worsen the condition of the other person. Reason being the other person may receive an underdose, overdose or inappropriate antimicrobial drugs for their infection. This also contributes to emergence of resistant microbes whose consequences are described above.

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