The Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana has warned the public against continued antibiotic abuse, claiming that it can lead to disease resistance and, ultimately, death.
It also called for the country’s antibiotic-use laws to be strengthened and for regulatory authorities to ensure that people who did not need antibiotics did not have access to them.
According to the society’s Vice-President, Kwabena Offei Asante, “there is significant abuse of many antibiotics in the country, and one of the ways people abuse them is by not completing the full dosage.”
“The long-term effect is that a disease that could have been cured with medicine ‘A’ will not respond to the medicine, necessitating more expensive antibiotics to treat it,” he added.
Mr. Asante issued the warning yesterday at the start of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) in Accra.
The World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) is an annual global campaign held from November 14 to 24 to raise awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance.
AMR occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites evolve and cease to respond to medications, making infections more difficult to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness, and death.
AMR in bacteria is estimated to have killed 1.27 million people in 2019.
Mr Asante stated that due to the dangers that antibiotic resistance poses, there is a need for more education and awareness raising about their use.
He urged people to seek the advice of pharmacists or qualified healthcare professionals before taking medications, particularly antibiotics.
Threat to health
Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation, has identified AMR as one of the most serious threats to health and development.
He stated that, while the country had made progress in the management of HIV/AIDS, the phenomenon of AMR posed a threat to meeting the desired targets.
Mahama Asei Seini, Deputy Minister of Health, also stated that the misuse of antimicrobials made abusers more vulnerable.
Dr Bismark Attah-Adjepong, Director of Pharmaceutical Services for the Ghana Health Service, urged health practitioners to ensure that antimicrobial medications were properly prescribed, dispensed, and used rationally.
Dr Joycelyn Azeez, Director of Pharmacy at the Ministry of Health, urged everyone to get involved in raising antimicrobial awareness.
The World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and other development partners all sent messages.