Published: Tue, November 13, 2018
Medical | By

World Health Organization warns 'urgent action' is needed to tackle global misuse of antibiotics

World Health Organization warns 'urgent action' is needed to tackle global misuse of antibiotics

The World Health Organization (WHO) released a new report Monday that finds large disparities in antibiotic consumption worldwide.

"... The "WHO Report on Surveillance of Antibiotic Consumption" looked at antibiotic use in 65 countries and found the Netherlands used 9.78 defined daily doses (DDD) per 1,000 people, while Britain used twice as much, and Turkey nearly twice as much again, at 38.18 DDD per 1,000 inhabitants..."

Currently, the East Asian country is also marking World Antibiotic Awareness Week with various events nationwide.

By 2050, some five million people could die each year in Asia alone due to resistance to antibiotic medicines or antimicrobials, according to United Nations agencies. Antibiotics do not have any effect on viruses, such as colds and flu, yet more than a third (37%) of those surveyed wrongly say antibiotics are effective for treating viral infections. But over the decades, the bacteria are modified to resist to these drugs.

The world urgently needs to change the way it prescribes and uses antibiotics.

"Everyone has a role in responsible antibiotic use, whether it involves a medical doctor prescribing an antibiotic, a patient completing a dosage regimen or a producer working with a veterinarian monitoring herd health", Fowler said.

In Europe, which provided the most complete data for the report, the average antibiotic consumption was almost 18 DDD per 1,000 inhabitants per day.


Irresponsible use of antibiotics, including wrong prescriptions, inappropriate self-medication and over-the-counter sale of antibiotics from unlicensed and unapproved outlets have been identified as the major causes of AMR.

Dr Derek Sherwood from the Choosing Wisely campaign says a growing number of infections, such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, and gonorrhoea, are becoming harder to treat as the antibiotics used to treat them become less effective.

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

He also asked health workers who did not have the mandate to prescribe or dispense antibiotics to desist from that practice. The WHO collated data on antibiotic consumption for human health care from 65 countries and areas for the first time.

Dr. Aamer Ikram, President of MMIDSP said, "MMIDSP takes the pride in launching the initiative to curb AMR through 'Antibiotic Stewardship Initiative in Pakistan (ASIP).' The Society has organized multiple events in collaboration with Pfizer Pakistan for creating awareness and imparting training at both institutional and community levels to address the injudicious overuse of antibiotics with ever increasing AMR". This alignment will enable comparison of antibiotic use between the human and animal sector in the future.

"We started seeing more and more cases where the bacteria were resistant to the antibiotics that we have available", Smith noted.

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