Antimicrobial Resistance: An Emerging Medical Challenge
Antimicrobial resistance, when fragmented consists of two primary words: Antimicrobial and resistance. Antimicrobials are the groups of drugs used against wide range of microorganisms and resistance means ability not to be affected by something. Hence the term antimicrobial resistance is the ability of microbes to resist the effect of antibiotics nullifying the pharmacological action of the drug administered (antibiotics). According to recent survey, every year millions of people lose their lives due to antimicrobial resistance. The irony is, even majority of frontline health care professionals are unaware about it or neglect the chances of antimicrobial resistance that might happen in the future. Since past few decades it has become one of the biggest medical challenge in global health.
Antimicrobial resistance threatens the effective prevention and treatments of an over increasing range of infections caused by different types of microorganisms especially bacteria, viruses and other micro parasites. It is an increasing serious medical threat to global public health that requires action through health care professionals and decision makers.
Nowadays, it has become a global concern due to its noxious effects on public health. We cannot avoid antimicrobial agents because without it, the prevention and treatment of infections as well as different medical procedures such as organ transplantation, chemotherapy, and major surgeries become a high risk but we can overcome incidence of resistance through its appropriate and rational use.
Antimicrobial resistance is present in every country all around the world, but situation is more vicious in developing and underdeveloped countries. To some extent developed countries are able to combat against resistance through advanced diagnosis protocol, controlled and rational use of antimicrobials.
Causes of Antimicrobial resistance:
- Lack of proper medical diagnosis.
- Irrational prescribing of antimicrobial drugs especially over or under prescribing of antimicrobials.
- Wrong dose and duration of antimicrobials.
- Wrong choice of antimicrobial agents.
- Unnecessary antimicrobials used in minor illness.
- Self-medication of antimicrobials without proper any medical test.
- Poor infection control in hospitals and medical centers.
- Poor hygiene and sanitation practices.
How can we control it?
We can minimize the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance through coordinated action between different sectors such as patients, health care professionals and government. For example, hospitals can formulate antibiotics utilization protocol, so doctors can only prescribe antimicrobials as per protocol when it is truly required. Likewise pharmacists should dispense it with proper counseling so that patients takes antimicrobials as per proper routine. Only patients and healthcare professionals’ efforts are not sufficient to fight against antimicrobial resistance, so government supports is an equal necessity. Government should formulate protocol about manufacture, sale and distribution of antimicrobials and implement rules and regulations about appropriate use of antimicrobial agents and awareness in public level.
Pharm D Bahauddin Zakariya University Pakistan
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