By Chioma Obinna
With United Nations prediction that antibiotic resistance could kill 10 million people every year by 2050 if nothing is done, experts have warned that 90 percent of antibiotics use is unnecessary.
The warning is coming on the heels of the pledged by 193 UN member states to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR), that has been described as one of the major health challenges currently.
Handing down the warning in Lagos, an Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases expert, Dr. Yoav Golan cautioned Nigerians on antibiotics intake as too much of it can cause more harm than good.
Golan who is also a clinical research fellow at the Tufts medical Centre, Boston, spoke in Lagos at the first Inaugural Lecture/dinner of the Global Infectious Diseases Initiative in collaboration with College of Medicine, University of Lagos, UNILAG.
According to him, it’s not ideal to take antibiotics without prescription from a qualified healthcare provider who should authoritatively give reasons why it should be taken for an ailment.
Lamenting that in most countries, antibiotics are over prescribed by medical doctors, he noted that “if patients are aware that antibiotics can harm them more than help them, if they have a growing infection they would not ask the doctor to giving them antibiotic.”
He noted that when antibiotic is abused, it could lead to resistance. “Antibiotic abuse also has its side effects, a lot of antibiotics cause diarrhoea, allergic reactions, and if you deal with such antibiotics then you will be exposed to much more risk than benefits.”
According to him, health education should be adopted at the national level so as to first educate the health providers.
Speaking, the Deputy Vice Chancellor Development Services, UNILAG, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola while giving update on Tropical Infectious Disease, particularly on recent outbreaks like Ebola, regretted that Nigerians are not cautious of infectious diseases even as she decried underperformance on the part of health practitioners.
She further lamented that Nigerians are the cause of the infectious disease problems due to the fact that majority are not hygiene cultured. “Most of the problems we have today are problems of hygiene. “Not taking good water, defecating and urinating everywhere, thereby disseminating infections. A lot of the diseases we have can be directly link to our house most especially kitchen, they are not secured.”
The Convener of the event who doubles as the Chief Executive Officer, Global Infectious Diseases Initiative, Dr. Folarin Olubowale who spoke on how to address infectious diseases in Nigeria said the event was organised to awaken the consciousness of Nigerians as well as collaborate with physicians on how to improve the knowledge of Nigerians on on infectious diseases.
He said the Summit was to encourage upcoming physicians who are also interested in possible scholarship programmes and conferences abroad. “I want to be able to go into partnership with institutions to establish a centre of excellence which will become a referral centre in Africa.