Silent pandemic - Are you using antibiotics the right way?

Silent pandemic - Are you using antibiotics the right way?

Inappropriate use of antibiotics can change bacteria so much that they don’t work against them whenever a person has an infection. Some bacteria are now resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics available, making antibiotic resistance a growing problem globally.

 Dr John Kariuki notes that inappropriate use occurs when antibiotics are taken for too short a time, at too low a dose, at inadequate potency, or for the wrong disease. 

“Most people use antibiotics unnecessarily to treat flu or viral conditions that do not require antibiotics, conditions that are self-limiting and conditions that will resolve on their own without necessarily using drugs. Some people sometimes use antibiotics to promote growth in animals,” he explained. 

Antibiotics are drugs that kill or prevent the reproduction of disease-causing bacteria, without directly harming the patient’s cells. Whether in human patients or in livestock or agriculture, there are results in bacteria adapting to the drugs, leading them to become less effective over time. 

As a result, mutation happens hence resistance to antibiotics. According to World Health Organization, this usually starts with incorrect antibiotic prescription, and wrong doses in terms of overdosing or underdosing.

 “Antimicrobial resistance has morphed into a silent pandemic. It is important for people to take antibiotics when they are needed because abuse, misuse, and overuse of antibiotics have brought about a deadly antimicrobial resistance making it difficult to treat even simple infections if the infection gets untreated it can be fatal,” he said.

 The first hint of resistance to antibiotics in mankind came in the 1940s, when penicillin soon after its discovery and its initial use on sick patients was found to be not useful in some patients suffering from infections that caused abscesses all over the body. Today, the problem has increases to a globally issue.

WHO notes that antimicrobial resistance is one of the top global public health and development threats. It is estimated that bacterial AMR was directly responsible for 1.27 million global deaths in 2019 and contributed to 4.95 million deaths. 

The misuse and overuse of antimicrobials in humans, animals and plants are the main drivers in the development of drug-resistant pathogens.

“Antibiotic resistance is a serious threat to mankind and treating it is a challenge. It is estimated that if nothing is done, we are going to lose 10 million people annually by 2050,” he said.

“We have to look at ways of combating antimicrobial resistance by promoting hygiene, this will reduce infections, the other way is vaccination against diseases and research and development,” he added.

Dr Kariuki emphasised that people themselves contribute to the emergence of antibiotic resistance and to the abuse of antibiotics. He cautioned against buying unprescribed antibiotics without a valid prescription, underdosing and using medicine left over from the previous illness.


Citizen TV Citizen Digital Antibiotics

Want to send us a story? SMS to 25170 or WhatsApp 0743570000 or Submit on Citizen Digital or email

Leave a Comment


No comments yet.

latest stories