Tanzania: Govt Cautions Over Rising Antimicrobial Resistance

The government has cautioned over the growing antimicrobial resistance which has now reached 65 per cent, calling for deliberate efforts to avert the problem.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines making infections harder to treat, a situation that increases the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.

To address the problem the government has directed human health personnel, veterinary experts, environmentalists, institutions and health facilities dispense appropriate dosage and be used whenever necessary.

Speaking on World Antimicrobial Awareness Week which commenced yesterday and lasts to November 24th here yesterday Deputy Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Health Dk Seif Shekilage said that health experts are responsible for educating the public on proper use of antibiotic and its effects when used inappropriately.

“Inappropriate use of antibiotics causes antimicrobial resistance which has been growing annually… in 1993 the resistance was 39 per cent, in, 2002, (42 per cent), 2014 (67 per cent) and from 2017 to 2022 the problem has grown to 65 per cent,” he said.

A research conducted by the Ministry of Health in 2017 indicated that 92 per cent of patients received medical services from drug outlets of majority of whom used antibiotics without doctor’s prescription.

He said another research conducted in 2018 by the Ministry of Livestock showed that 90 of livestock keepers used antibiotics to treat their animals instead on vaccines.

Dr Shekilage said that all sectors including health, livestock, fisheries, agriculture and environment are responsible for preventing or reducing antibiotic resistance.

“This campaign aims at raising public awareness on proper use of antibiotics in order to reduce wrong uses as efforts to prevent the drugs resistance,” he said.

Tanzania like other developing countries is facing infectious diseases by 95 per cent, this is due to some health personnel who prefer to prescribe medication without getting diagnosis results from the medical labs, the practice which leads to inappropriate use of antibiotics, causing antimicrobial resistance which has been growing annually.

“These statistics are indications that antimicrobial resistance is of great concern thus calling for deliberate efforts to curb the problem,” he said.

Dr Shekilage also said that antimicrobial resistance has become a concern because the nation is losing workforce due to death resulting from diseases which are resistant to drugs.

He said the situation also increases poverty due to long illnesses which require a patient to buy expensive medicines.

The World Bank report of 2017 indicated that the world economy will decline by 3.8 per cent come 2050 and an estimated 3.4 trillion US dollars will be lost by 2030 due to drug resistance.

The report shows that developing countries including Tanzania will be affected more in which 9 billion US dollars will be used annually in fighting the problem.

He directed all people to learn about drug resistance and what can be done to improve their health.

Dr Shekilage directed human health experts, veterinary officers and environmentalists to make sure that they provide proper dosage to patients and to abide by various governments health guidelines.

On his party, Chief Pharmacist, Daudi Msasi said that following drug resistance the government has already removed some medicines from use such as penicillin, tetecycline, chroloquine and SP.

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