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Federal Government, WHO and partners strategize to tackle antibiotic abuse in Nigeria

As Nigeria observes 2018 World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) with the theme “Think Twice, Seek Advice, “Government has reiterated its commitment to tackle the scourge of antibiotic abuse and resistance.

In collaboration with agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO), Department for International Development (DfiD), the World Bank, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), and the Bill & Melinda Gates (BMGF), the government is rolling out a national action plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) across the country.

“A lot of people believe it is cheaper to just walk into a pharmacy, explain symptoms and seek medication. Meanwhile, pharmacies in Nigeria need to make their money and so they readily meet the demands of customers by prescribing drugs based on described symptoms, “says Adako Lawrence, Abuja-based pharmacist. He added that at least one in every five patients prefer to go directly to a pharmacy to purchase drugs and self-medicate than to a hospital for proper consultation and treatment.

According to Adako,“95% of the drugs they are given are antibiotics such as Ampiclox, Ampicillin, Metronidazole, Tetracycline and Ciprofloxacin.  These are usually supposed to be prescribed by a medical doctor as they can have side effects on organs like the liver and kidney if taken incorrectly.”

Adako further states that in humans, some of these drugs inhibit the growth of natural flora that protect the body from diseases like yeast infections, while in children some antibiotics administered in wrong doses can cause severe cases of bronchitis and other diseases. Other serious side effects of antibiotic abuse include AMR, a case when bacteria become resistant to active ingredients in medicines. The resistant bacteria may infect humans and animals, making infections like pneumonia, tuberculosis and gonorrhoea harder to treat.

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