Health Alarm: Antibiotic-resistant germs flourish in Ethiopia. By Ayele Addis Ambelu (Ayeleradio@gmail.com) +251918718307
Antimicrobial resistance, or AMR, is a healthcare crisis you likely have never heard about. And yet, if we don’t take action now to Resist the Resistance, 4.1 million people across Africa could be dead by 2050.
Medicine means tamed ‘poison.’ It can kill us with a subtle pill, a mini pill.
The thin difference between poison and medicine is called ‘proportion.’
This is why some medicines are only sold by prescription, lest they become poison to us.
This is why the doctors are told when and how to take them so they don’t beat us back.
But we don’t care. Maybe when we buy pills with money, we think of them as chewing gum.
We are talking about amoxicillin, metronidazole, and ciprofloxacin.
‘Ordinary’ antibiotics because we have remembered their names.
They are not random.
‘Antibiotics’ are the guarantee behind each of our survival. They are our security guards.
But now they are turning and shooting at us.
This is why Ethiopian health experts are worried.
Germs that the drug should have killed are not killed. They got up.
Antibiotic-resistant germs flourish in Ethiopia.
This is what worries Ethiopian health professionals.
Dr. Eskedar Ferdhu is a doctor at Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa. “This is something that worries all doctors,” She says. What caused the stress?
Recently, drugs have not become more and more effective. Especially antibiotics.
Why was it not effective?
One reason is that we take them like food items. Without a doctor’s order, randomly.
Saying, “Wait, I have unfinished medicine, don’t buy…”
When a 43-year-old mother, Mrs. Abeba, ‘ we only take the 7-day ‘antibiotic’ for three days. What?’ I got better immediately. We are not burning our body for seven days,” she says. Many Ethiopian parents only take the 7-day ‘antibiotic’ for three days.
The general public does not know this is very dangerous, except doctors.
Public knowledge is dangerous if it gets it wrong.
Many people do not understand that the harm is not only to the person who quits the drug but to our entire society.
“Non-prescription” drugs that we buy without a prescription
In the past, bacteria were treated with drugs. Now, the bacteria despise drugs.
We call it the ‘antibiotic ineffectiveness’. This happens when a bacterium says to a drug prepared to destroy the virus will not cure the virus!’ said Dr Bekalu Haile.
It is called “Antimicrobial resistance” in a medical language.
Dr Selam Gashaw says, “If a germ ignores medicine, it is a difficult time of life. After that, treating that person is a challenge.”
The analysis shows AMR was directly responsible for an estimated 1.27 million deaths worldwide and associated with an estimated 4.95 million deaths in 2019. Millions have died all over the world because of this negligence. But in Ethiopia, no one counted and researched. The new Global Research on Antimicrobial Resistance (GRAM) report estimates deaths linked to 23 pathogens and 88 pathogen-drug combinations in 204 countries and territories in 2019. Statistical modeling was used to estimate AMR’s impact in all locations – including those with no data – using 471 million individual records obtained from systematic literature reviews, hospital systems, surveillance systems, and other data sources.
The antibiotic resistance boom is predicted to be the world’s number-one killer by 2050.
This is the main reason health workers’ stress is being raised.
Ethiopian doctors are seeing antibiotic resistance in all the hospitals where they work.
Dr. Eskedar is one of these doctors.
“They note that adapted bacteria are expected to be found in large numbers in health facilities, but now there are signs that it is spreading to society. Patients are taken a lot of antibiotics in the hospital. Therefore, they can be infected by bacteria that have adapted to medicine. What is causing concern now is that this ‘drug-resistant’ bacteria has penetrated into society.
What Dr. Eskedar calls ‘educated, alert, alert and information’ is the one that is used in antibiotic medicine. She also saw that many patients he treated at work failed to achieve the expected results despite being prescribed antibiotics. In short, antibiotics have become popular these days. Germs flourished. But if this continues, what will happen to us?
‘ Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest mortality rate due to antimicrobial resistance’
But why did the health people start shouting that it is necessary to wake the people in time?
Dr. Yaya Alemu and Dr. Eskedar said, ‘Enough of taking medicine randomly!’
“In simple terms, the flu is a virus. It is saved by care. When antibiotics are given for the flu, it opens up the possibility for the bacteria to adapt to the medicine,” says Dr. Yaya.
Another is the obsession with drug withdrawal.
“..Now, if you enter the intensive care unit of the Black Lion Hospital, the bacteria called ‘gram negative’ are very accustomed and bothering us.”
Which drug are we talking about?
Antibiotics are a variety of drugs that are given against bacteria, germs, and fungi.
The resident of Addis Ababa, Mr Tewodros Getachew, said, “Doctors prescribed us regularly, so we know them as close relatives. That’s one of the problems.
How many doctors follow strict precautions in prescribing the drugs? Isn’t there a tendency to order randomly?
It is not said that there are no ‘careless’ doctors who recklessly send every patient carrying antibiotics. Are there?
But for now, let’s put aside the problem with the doctors and talk about us.
“Many medicines we buy from the pharmacy and even rural places in the market are for colds, throat infections, diarrhea, etc. We are not right.” Said Tewdoors. “Not only are we the buyers, but the sellers are not doing well either. They should not be sold without a legal prescription. However, pharmacies sell to us saying, ‘It is in your responsibility, or we know it. It cures you.”‘
If we think they are doing us a favor, we are wrong. What they have committed is a blatant crime.
There is a reason these drugs are not sold without a prescription.
Unfortunately, many stores are more concerned about our money than our health.
We say this with evidence, not gossip.
Health researchers Eyosait Mekonnen Koji, Gebremedhin Beedemariam Gebretekle, and Tinsae Alemayehu Tekle published a study three years ago. The prevalence of providing antibiotics over-the-counter for pediatric illnesses in Addis Ababa is markedly high.
The study was to evaluate how many pharmacies in Addis Ababa sell prescription-only drugs without a prescription. People selected for the study were made to go to each pharmacy to ask for the medicines, like drama.
“My son has diarrhea; I need medicine?” People asked for a pharmacy. The results of the study were shocking. Of the 262 pharmacies surveyed, 166 sold the requested drugs to the study ‘actors’ Without any prescription. According to their recommendation, Enhancing education of personnel dispensing antibiotics and strict enforcement of national regulations are needed.
Why aren’t pharmacies fined?
The Ethiopian Food and Drug Authority should control this. What is this office doing anyway? We asked Mr. Million. Mr. Million is the senior coordinator of appropriate drug use in this office. His office made no secret of the fact that it was unequivocally aware of the problem.
While explaining the gap in terms of control, they mentioned that although their office has branches in seven regions, it is difficult to take direct action.
“We are a federal government, But we can’t go to a region and act as if we have seen this disaster. The region tells us that this is my job.
The problem is not only with the users; Mr. Million’s pharmacy experts also know that they should not sell without a prescription. They are encouraged to sell to the same customer whom I did not sell to from the following pharmacy.
Ato Million, however, underlines that the problem does not originate only from greedy pharmacies. They made us aware of the patient’s negligence and lack of awareness.
“People get tired of going to the doctor, spending money, standing in line, and being treated. What they see as an alternative is to buy and swallow the medicine they have taken in the past for the same problem.”
In other words, a person goes to a pharmacy and treats himself. He prescribes antibiotics when he is five days or seven days old.
“Treating yourself with antibiotics is a very dangerous decision,” says Millionaire.
Medicines sold by motorists, such as burgers
A lot of marketing has changed in the wake of the Covid pandemic.
People don’t want to leave the house.
It’s not just burgers and alcohol that are served from where they are. Some people also prescribe medicine. And for that, from their home; And for that, by a motorist. And that’s without a prescription.
“For example, there was a drug called Remdesivir. People carry it in their pockets from abroad. A patient in a hospital gets the medicine from a motorist. We understand that this thing is being taken as a habit and is being replaced by other drugs (including antibiotics),” says Mr. Million.
Assistant Professor Getachew Amelgarare is a member of the Clinical Pharmacy Department at Addis Ababa University College of Health Sciences.
They say that the consequence of the negligence of taking antibiotics at the individual level is ‘we are wrong if we only think about the individual’.
“If we stop the antibiotic given to us for seven days, it means that we did not kill the bacteria. Undead acne bacteria can easily spread to other people. This is a danger to the whole community.”
An assistant professor says there is one glaring knowledge gap.
For example, when 500 grams of amoxicillin is prescribed every 8 hours daily for seven days, this is not just a coincidence.
“How much, how long, how often will it kill the germ?” It is the result of many years of research and research. Let’s take a final question. Why does society swallow drugs at random? Where did the negligence come from? For the professor, this lack of knowledge is a problem.
‘The knowledge of the public and scholars is always different. People see it as better. But what medical science sees is the death of the germ.’
Sometimes, we think we are better, but we are getting sicker.
Sometimes, we turn medicines meant for healing into poison with our hands.