An estimated 10 million deaths by 2050 if systems are not in place on control the trend
Anti-microbial resistance (AMR) is one of the public health threats to modern medicine arising from inappropriate use of antibiotics by patients making it hard for health professionals to treat infections.
Dr. Watipaso Kasambara National Coordinator for Anti-microbial resistance said an Antibiotic awareness week campaign running from 18-24 November designated by the World Health Organization (WHO), among others serves to prevent the emergence of anti-biotic resistance
According to global figures, an estimate of 10 million deaths equating to $2000 trillion by 2050 will have occurred if systems are not in place to control anti-biotic resistance.
Kasambara stated that although they have not yet quantified the burden, there is a lot of resistance in drugs like Amoxicillin, Penicillin, Gentamicin, Bactrim, Ciprofloxacin and Flagyl which treat bacterial infections.
A microbiologist, she explained that over the years, the problem keeps on growing ever since they started monitoring the trend.
“In Africa we still haven’t had proper and standardized systems to be able to say that these are the numbers, but we know that the problem is huge and we’re seeing it and what we’re doing on daily basis is to be able to quantify so that one of the days, we may be able to come out and say I think this is the huge burden in Malawi.
“We keep seeing it on a daily basis; and it keeps getting bigger but Malawi as a whole we haven’t yet quantified to understand the burden; but we’re seeing the problem is growing and it is threatening our treatments in infections but also it’s threatening our quality of care in our facilities. That’s why we have systems in place to start monitoring the issue on anti-microbial resistance”.
A number of activities have been lined up to raise public awareness on how to handle antibiotics with care and never to use leftover medicines but to finish the whole prescription even when one feels better as advised by the doctors.
Additionally, they have engaged central hospitals and a few facilities tailored into creating awareness in preventing anti-microbial resistance and monitoring it.
A symposium has been organized on 22nd November where all critical experts and stakeholders will be in attendance to share lessons and look at some of the developments in the sector and what interventions can be tailored to combat anti- microbial resistance in the next five years
Currently there are no new antibiotics being produced as their development has slowed meaning they keep using the same platform of drugs which they’ve had over the years.
“Because of resistance, but also because of changes in the genome of bacteria but also because of the changes in mutations as you see even with the COVID pandemic; you’ve seen a lot changes within the genome today. We have Omicron, tomorrow we have Delta; so same way resistance is also seen in bacteria. So because of these changes, it’s been a lot of work to be able to develop new antibiotics because of the challenge of resistance strains.
“So it’s taking in a lot of time; there are antibiotics yes in development but not yet out; but it’s taking in a lot of time for them to come out because of the threat of the resistance genes”.