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How to end antibiotic resistance in Nigeria – AMLSN

  • Says imported fish, turkey, others  are preserved with drugs

ABUJA – Nigeria must join the rest of the world to take drastic actions to stop growing rate of antibiotic resistance in the nation, and across the globe.

Such actions will help boost the health and productivity of people in the country, the A

buja chapter of Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria, AMLSN, has said.

The group noted that research showed that antibiotic resistance “is increasing at a faster rate than it can be controlled, and the trend could eventually affect an entire community.”

Antibiotic resistance, which is the ability of bacteria and other organisms to withstand antibiotics to which they were once sensitive, is the focus of International Federation of Biomedical Laboratory Science, to which AMLSN is affiliated, as the organization commemorates this year World Biomedical Laboratory Science Day.

At a press briefing in Abuja, Thursday, Chairman, Abuja chapter of AMLSN,  Ndubuisi Ebitea, said the resistance of organisms to antibiotics “remains a huge concern because resistant organisms are becoming prevalent, bacterial resistance often results in treatment failure and increased cost and mortality, the problem is no more restricted to the hospital setting, resistance will continue to worsen if not addressed; and there are no antibiotics on the immediate horizon with activity against multi-drug resistant pathogens.

“The monetary cost of creating antibiotic resistant infections is estimated to be billions of dollars every year,” Abuja AMLSN added.

The theme of the commemoration is “Antibiotic Resistance: Biomedical Laboratory Scientists Response in the Global Threat.”

Speaking on the theme, after he had led his members on a sensitization walk on the prevalence and ills of antibiotic resistance across the Wuse Area of Abuja, Ebitea said the world had come full cycle and arrived at a point as frightening as the pre-antibiotic era.

He noted that antibiotics resistance could be caused by patient noncompliance to recommended treatment, irrational use of antibiotics, and unwholesome practice of some health professionals, recurrent visit to or stay in hospitals with highly resistant organisms, poor quality antibiotics in circulation, irrational use of antibiotics in animals and inadequate surveillance and susceptibility testing.

He urged that resistance of organisms to antibiotics could be mitigated by preventing infection through vaccination, washing of hands and general hygiene, by proper diagnosis and effective treatment of infections, by appropriate prescription and use of antibiotics.

Speaking further, he advised that clinicians must do their work professionally, and according to their line of duty, while patients ensure they are diagnosed by, and get drug prescription from trained and certified professionals.

He averred that when patients embark on self-medication, their health situation could worsen, while antibiotics or related medications taken fail to work.

Ebitea however revealed that many of imported fishes, turkey and related foods are preserved with antibiotic before being brought into the country.

He explained that consumers of such foods should ask themselves the reason the foods remain fresh in the market from morning till evening on vendors’ stands without swelling or rotting. According to him, such fish and turkey could be brought to market for days before they are sold.

“You never ask why you place a chicken on the stand and it doesn’t get rot till the evening and put them again in the fridge. It is because they have been laced with antibiotic,” he reasoned.

Meanwhile, the FCT chapter of AMLSN called on the FCT Administration and the Federal Government to create Directorate of Medical Laboratory Services for “proper” management and control of medical laboratory services in the territory and the country at large. It said government should ignore those “who are unwarrantedly resisting the reaction of the department as they do not mean well.”

The group argued that medical laboratory scientists make up one of the largest groups of health care professionals with “about 25,000 people, adding that their contributions to medicine and public health require better appreciation.

“The medical laboratory scientist is a thoroughbred professional, trained in the science of investigating and confirmed, or otherwise, the cause of disease. The practice of medical laboratory science could also be for surveillance, which is vital in providing information for public health decisions. In fact, medical laboratory can be said to be the oracle of modern medicine and functions and the searchlight of health.

“The Association in the Federal Capital Territory is poised to combat the menace of antibiotics resistance, hence it has put in place modalities, in facilities, for in-depth and continuous sensitization of members of the phenomenon. We call on government to put in place a policy that would regulate the testing, prescription and use of antibiotics…

“As we celebrate this year’s World Biomedical Laboratory Science Day, it is important to remind the public to help the antibiotics do their job of eradicating infectious organisms by taking antibiotics as directed and by finishing the full prescription even if you are already feeling better. Simply put, stop antibiotic resistance, stop antibiotic abuse,” the group urged.

World Biomedical Laboratory Science Day was established in 1996 by the General Assembly of Delegates at the World Congress of International Federation of Biomedical Laboratory Science.

This day is set aside for the promotion and celebration of the key role medical laboratory scientists play in health care. The day, which is usually celebrated on the 15th of April, was marked by the FCT chapter of AMLSN, Thursday, because the day fell within the just-concluded Easter feast.


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