Community pharmacists

Community pharmacists, central to curbing increasing antimicrobial resistance

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NIGERIA is said to have a huge problem of antimicrobial resistance, and taking into consideration the perceptions of community pharmacists, the channel for more than 70 percent of antibiotic sales in human and animal health sectors, is important in addressing it.

Dr Babatunde Ogunbosi, consultant in paediatric infectious disease, said this at a workshop by the Commonwealth Partnership for Antimicrobial Stewardship Scheme, Ibadan-Sheffield Antimicrobial Stewardship Partnership, in collaboration with the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Oyo State branch.

Ogunbosi, the UCH’s lead for the Ibadan-Sheffield Antimicrobial Stewardship Partnership, stated that the abuse, misuse, and overuse of antibiotics, the main drivers of anti-microbial resistance, are as a result of human behaviours.

He declared that Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia were the leading countries that were going to be hardest hit by anti-microbial resistance, even though they had the fewest resources and structures to combat the problem.

According to him, a recent review indicated that about 5 million deaths from bacterial infections were associated with bacterial antimicrobial resistance, with 1.27 million were directly attributable to bacterial antimicrobial resistance.

“This was more than deaths from malaria and HIV combined. But people don’t realise that because when somebody who has pneumonia comes to the intensive care unit and dies, the cause of death is written as pneumonia. But the truth is that that person might have had Klebsiella pneumonia, which was multi-drug resistant. It doesn’t go into the records.

“And projections have said that if we continue the way it is, we’ll have two times higher mortality and incidents from AMR compared to 2005 records by the year 2035. It is a very serious condition.

“Just last week, the Lancet series on anti-microbial resistance was launched, and they have a global ambitious drive to reduce mortality from AMR by 10%, reduce inappropriate use of antibiotics in humans by 20%, and reduce inappropriate use of antibiotics in animals by 30%, all by 2030.

“So, we all have a role to play. And if we’re going to ensure that people don’t use antibiotics inappropriately, then the people that sell them to the large population of the populace should be on board with us.”

ACPN’s National Chairman, Mr Adewale Oladigbolu, stated that past gains from the discovery of antibiotics may be lost without effort to prevent antimicrobial resistance and a national drug distribution system.

“All around Nigeria, we have open drug markets, where antibiotics are sundried. They are not stored at the proper temperature. And it still comes back to the people. So how can we curb microbial resistance in that instance?” he added.

In a remark, Oyo State Health Commissioner, Dr Oluwaseresimi Ajetunmobi, represented by Dr. Gbolahan Abass, stated the impact of antimicrobial resistance is particularly pronounced, with increasing cases of treatment failures and the spread of resistant infections.

She added, “Each of us has a role to play in preserving the efficacy of antibiotics for future generations.” Healthcare professionals must adhere to guidelines and practice judicious prescribing; policymakers must provide the necessary support and resources to implement and enforce regulations. Communities must be empowered to take an active role in their health and well-being.”

Professor Victoria Adetunji, head of the Department of Veterinary Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the University of Ibadan, urged community pharmacists to be watch dogs over antibiotic residues in food and human health.

According to her, enhancing Nigeria’s bio-security measures, biosafety, and sanitation practices will also reduce the antimicrobial resistance of the body because there will be fewer infections in humans and animals

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