World’s ANTIBIOTICS AWARENESS WEEK (Nov 14 – 20): Stop Antibiotics Misuse


Antibiotics have transformed medicine and saved millions of lives. This wonderful invention – which started with the discovery of penicillin by Sir Alexander Fleming in 1928 – has made many successful surgeries possible and put Infections under control. But the tragedy is; antibiotics are about to be rendered useless because of me and you – our adamant, inconsistent nature, our misappropriate use of antibiotics.

Benefits of antibiotics

Apart from saving people’s lives, antibiotics have also played crucial role in achieving major advances in medicine and surgery such as successfully preventing and treating infections in individuals receiving chemotherapy and people with acute and chronic diseases.

People in the US were expected to live for only 56.4years old in 1920, now however the US average life span is 80 years. Antibiotics have helped to extend expected life spans by changing the outcome of infections in general. It has done the same in developing countries like Nigeria where sanitation is still poor and has drastically decreased morbidity and mortality caused by food borne and poverty related infections.

Our Present situation

Bacteria resistance has evolved over the years, from penicillin resistance to methicillin resistance and now vancomycin resistance, the newer strains of the resistant bacteria are getting stronger and stronger as the new drugs being developed against them are getting stronger and stronger.

Penicillin resistant bacteria à Methicillin Resistance Staph. Aureus (MRSA) à Vancomycin Resistant Strains.

Since all they do is, seek refuge in our blood and make friends with these drugs we create to terminate them. Our usual practice of just taking the first and second dose of antibiotics prescribed to us, when we start seeing the physical manifestation of the drugs such as yellow coloured, drug smelling urine or our boil shrinking, is killing. As we only give room to the bacteria left from the good concentration urinated out of our body system to adapt to the lower toxicity of the drugs in our body.

The most alarming and hurtful part is that, the learned ones and medical oriented individuals partake in these practice even medical students. And we go about clinical coats, screaming in the market place, stop drug abuse, stop drug abuse!! This we do mostly under the umbrella of an association or a philanthropic group, after which we return to our various homes and continue the bad practice. Even among our relatives, we find this misuse and we do nothing to stop it. But then, it was discovered that this predicament is worldwide which brings us to the Question what is “misuse”? Or for the sake of appropriateness¸ “what are the causes of our antibiotic resistance crises”?


Overuse of drugs started way back, few years after penicillin – the first antibiotics –was invented, then, Sir Alexander Fleming raised an alarm but no one listened to him. An era of drug overuse clearly drives the evolution of drug resistance. The Bacteria, like every other living thing, inherit genes from their “parents”, get modified overtime and they build resistance to these drugs.

Despite warnings, antibiotics are overprescribed worldwide and this is worsened by the fact that Antibiotics are sold in many countries unregulated as OTC (Over The Counter drugs) without proper prescription. So people can freely buy and use any form of antibiotics based on discretion. And when even prescribed, studies have shown that treatment indication – choice of agent, duration of antibiotic therapy – Is incorrect in 30% to 50% of cases. In Addition, 30% to 60% of the antibiotics prescribed in intensive care units have been found to be unnecessary, inappropriate or suboptimal.

Another way of overuse is when we use them extensively for livestock. Treating livestock with antimicrobials is said to improve the overall health of the animals, producing larger yields and a higher quality the products. The antibiotics used in livestock are consumed by humans when they consume food and resistance starts to set in. All these are not so much under control, I mean, patients have to be treated and livestock have to be bred. But then, the next form of misuse which is underuse/incomplete doses and self-overuse is what is most important here in our environment today.

Incomplete doses/Under use

This is so rampart, there wouldn’t be need to emphasize. Drugs are supposed to be used adequately, not too much and too little. When we don’t complete our doses, and the blood concentration supposed to cause adequate therapeutic effect isn’t optimal, only some of the bacteria get eliminated while the others supposed to be susceptible start to build up resistance against the drug and then produce offspring that are also resistant.

And what makes the case worse is the Lack of new drug development by the pharmaceutical industries due to reduced economy incentives and challenging regulatory requirements and approval.

Consequences of Antibiotics Misuse

Antibiotics resistant infections are already widely spread across the globe. Many public health organizations have described the rapid emergency of resistant bacteria as a crisis or nightmare scenario that could have catastrophic consequences. CDC, WHO institute of medicine, federal interagency task forces have declared resistant bacteria as a substantial treat to the entire globe.

Here is fact; MRSAs kills more American each year than HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, emphysema and homicide put together. Now, Vancomycin which is supposed to be our refuge drug is no longer as effective because Vancomycin resistant enterococci and so many other additional pathogens are developing resistance to many common antibiotics.

In conclusion, rapidly emerging resistance bacteria threaten the extraordinary health benefits that have been achieved with antibiotics in time past. This crisis is global, reflecting the underuse and overuse of these drugs and the lack of development of new antibiotic agents by pharmaceutical companies to address the challenge. Now, to achieve a non-resistant environment for pathogens, we need to think on the following:

What should be done and is within our power to avoid this killing resistance?

Should antibiotics no longer be sold OTC? OR Should we keep campaigning to people to stop the misuse?


You can drop your own ideas on our social media (twitter) using the #StopAntibioticMisuse

Follow us on twitter @FAMSA2, Facebook “FAMSA”, Instagram “Official_Famsa” or visit our website


Karolinska Institute Investidators in Sweeden
CDC, World Health Organisation


Hameed Yussuf,
General Secretary,
Standing Committee on Publication (SCOPUB-FAMSA 2016/2017)


Agoyi Mary Oluwakemisola,
Chairman, Standing Committee on Publication (FAMSA 2016/2017),

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ABC’s of Antibiotic Resistance

I vividly remember being well beaten for being a destructive and stubborn kid. And the more I was beaten, the less I felt the pains till it reached the moment I felt no pains but irritations when I was beaten. I guess my pain receptors were dead. I am sure present day bacteria would tell a similar story in regards to antibiotics for they have been exposed to all sorts and grown immune to them rendering treatment ineffective.

Antibiotic is the medical term to describe drugs used in treating diseases caused by bacteria. They play a very important role in reducing the presence and burden of diseases such as pneumonia, cholera, TB and sexually transmittable diseases like gonorrhea (call them communicable diseases) which are very much alive and active in our communities. With such as crisis like antibiotic resistance, treating people with HIV/AIDS would be difficult.

We cannot blame the bacteria for being resistant to antibiotics because adaptability is a natural process for them. The bulk of the blame falls on you and maybe me. Our attitude and habits towards drugs are contributing factors: the use of fake and counterfeit medicines from road side doctors and mobile pharmacies; poor prescription for health workers; and above all, stubbornness on your part to comply with treatment. Yes you! How often do you finish your treatment, especially for typhoid?

We never like to take blames no matter how obvious it might be, so we push it onto some other person. Thank goodness we have the government who would always carry the blame. We could blame it on government for the weak medical regulatory capacity and the circulation of substandard (counterfeit) drugs, or the weak laboratory capacity on antibiotic testing and reporting and lack of essential reagents and consumables. We could also blame government for the limited quality assurance and control; protocol or lack of antibiotic surveillance strategies. But you know if we did just the simple things like complying with treatment, we would not be facing most of these challenges right?

And hey, antibiotic resistant is NOT an African issue, it is thriving in all nations and communities just like ours. And did you also know that the famous gonorrhea would soon become resistant to all lines of treatment rendering it untreatable. Here is what would happen if gonorrhea is untreatable:

  • Increased rates of infertility,
  • Increased rates of pregnancy complications including miscarriages,
  • Blindness of new births
  • And you would hate sex and curse God for creating it.

But wait a moment, what is Antibiotic Resistance? Antibiotic resistance is the household name for Antimicrobial resistance which is resistance of microorganisms like; bacteria, fungi, viruses and malaria parasites to a drug that used to effective infections caused by these microorganisms. Antibiotic resistance is specific to bacteria while antimicrobial resistance covers all microorganisms including bacteria. Antimicrobial resistance kills people and slows the control and eradication of infectious diseases like malaria, syphilis, yellow fever and cholera without leaving out the famous gonorrhea. When infections become difficult to treat, new medications are introduced marking cost of treatment very expensive for many to afford and they end up dying.

This whole thing of antibiotic resistance is more complex than we think it is. It is influenced by many interconnected factors and as such, single isolated interventions have very little impact. Coordinated action is needed to minimize emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance.

According to the WHO, all parties (individuals, health workers and pharmacies, government and pharmaceutical industries) can help in reducing antibiotic resistance and here is how;

  • Individuals;
    1. Wash our hands and avoid close contact with sick people to prevent bacterial and viral transmissions.
    2. Get vaccinated and keep vaccinated up to date.
    3. Using antimicrobial drugs only when prescribed by a certified health professional
    4. Complete the full treatment course
    5. Never share antimicrobial drugs with others or use leftover prescriptions.
  • Health workers and pharmacists can help by;
    1. Enhancing infection prevention and control in hospitals and clinics.
    2. Only prescribing and dispensing antibiotics which are truly needed,
    3. Prescribing and dispensing the right antimicrobial drugs to treat the illness.
  • Government can help by
    1. Improving monitoring around the extent and cause of resistance.
    2. Strengthening infection control and prevention.
    3. Promoting and regulating appropriate use of medicines.
    4. Making information widely available on the impact of antimicrobial resistance and how the public and health professionals can play their part.
    5. Recognizing and rewarding innovation and development of new treatment options and other tools.
  • Scientists and pharmaceutical industry can help by
    1. Fostering innovation, research and development of new vaccines, diagnostic tools and treatment options.

So now you have completed a 60 hours medical/pharmaceutical course in just 5 minutes. And with such knowledge we are counting on you to help conquer bacteria through the proper use of antibiotics.

You don’t want to go without watching this interesting video by Dr Susan Enjema on Antibiotics Resistance.

Nkwain Carlson.

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Click here to download the FAMSA Bulletin Issue No. 001FAMSA BULLETIN

ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE; Can we stop it before it stops us?

Antibiotics, once considered one of the best discoveries of the 20th century have now become a problem with the rise of antibiotic resistance in our health care facilities and even in the community. With this we have studied that effective use of any antibiotic is compromised by the possibility of developing resistance to the active component of the drug.

According to C. Lee Ventola and colleagues, main causes of antibiotic resistance are overuse, inappropriate prescribing, extensive agricultural use, unavailability of newer antibiotics and poor regulatory barriers. The CDC reports that every year 2 million people in the US acquire serious infections with bacteria that are resistant to one or more

Everyone is to blame. The government, the health personnel and even the patient. If the government permits antibiotics to be sold over the counter in all pharmacies, we cannot expect change. If Doctors give wrong prescriptions in terms of dosages or drug choices, what do we expect? And patients who choose to skip a dose of their medication rather than skipping alcohol at an event and not forgetting those who have mini-pharmacies in their bags for ‘rainy days’, what do we expect?

The problem of antibiotic resistance may increase exponentially if nothing is done within 20 years, resistant strains of germs are transmitted from one person to another and the death rates keep increasing, cost of preventing and treating infections has increased drastically, more and more money goes to research for development of newer and safer antibiotics.

Now we must understand that the fight against antibiotic resistance must not be left to doctors alone.

Linonge E. Christie
7th year –Medicine
Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Buea, Cameroon.


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