Legislate against Unethical Antibiotics Sales, Use, Expert Urges Govt

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Dr Olufemi Akodu

Dr Olufemi Akodu, a consultant paediatrician at Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu, has called on the Nigerian government to enforce stricter regulations to combat antimicrobial resistance.

 In an interview with Pharmanewsonline, Dr  Akodu stressed the urgent need for government action to address this escalating public health crisis.

He explained that antimicrobial resistance occurs when bacteria mutate and become impervious to antibiotics that previously eradicated them.

This resistance, he said, primarily arises due to the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, adding that the lack of rigid policies guiding the sale of antibiotics in Nigeria is a key factor in this crisis.

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“In Nigeria, compared to some of our neighbouring countries, it’s been difficult to control the over-the-counter sales of antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription to minimise antimicrobial resistance ” he stated.

According to Akodu, we can  prevent antimicrobial resistance by minimising unnecessary prescription and overprescriptions of antibiotics, ensuring the correct use of prescribed antibiotics, and maintaining good hygiene and infection control practices.

He highlighted a distressing case involving a two-year-old girl with a severe febrile illness diagnosed with septicemia. “The blood culture revealed that the causative organism was resistant to all known and common antibiotics,” he recalled. Despite the challenges, medical professionals, with the help of a microbiologist, eventually found a solution, although the child's hospital stay was significantly extended.

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The consultant paediatrician noted that enforcing regulations on antibiotic sales in the country is a critical step. The widespread availability of antibiotics without a prescription has led to rampant misuse, exacerbating antibiotic resistance. Effective enforcement of these regulations will ensure antibiotics are used responsibly and only when necessary, he stated.

He also explained that public education campaigns are  crucial in raising awareness about the dangers of antibiotic misuse. “Many Nigerians are unaware that not all illnesses require antibiotics, leading to overuse and inappropriate prescriptions,” he noted.

 

Akodu therefore stressed the importance of public enlightenment on the subject matter, which will help a great deal in reducing the burden of antimicrobial resistance.

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He also mentioned the need for investment in healthcare infrastructure, saying this is paramount to support effective infection control and hygiene practices. Improved healthcare facilities and resources, he said, are essential to prevent infections and manage diseases without over-relying on antibiotics.

Enhanced infection control measures, was another method he noted that can significantly reduce the spread of resistant bacteria, protecting both patients and healthcare workers.

 

 

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