FAMSA

ANTIBIOTICS RESISTANCE

Antibiotics are substances that are able to destroy or inhibit the growth of bacteria and other similar organisms. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change and they no longer respond effectively to antibiotics that were initially used to treat infections they cause and therefore they continue to multiply and cause more harm.

There are several factors that contribute to antibiotic resistance:

  • Over-prescription of antibiotics. This includes prescribing many potent drugs to a patient and this could be due to seeking medical attention in different hospitals or clinics without giving adequate history of previous treatment.
  • Overusing antibiotics in the meat supply chain. More than 50% of all antibiotics globally are used in the meat supply chain to prevent rather than treat infections, to promote rapid growth and weight gain.
  • Failure of patients to finish their treatment. Bacteria are able to mutate in such a way as to avoid being destroyed by the drug since they gotten to know how the antibiotic works.
  • Poor control of infections in hospitals and clinics. Patients admitted in hospital have a risk of developing hospital-acquired infections, some of are caused by strains of resistant bacteria such as Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
  • Failure to develop new antibiotics. Bacteria are constantly undergoing mutation and failure to develop new antibiotics leads to development of resistant strains.
  • Poor sanitation and hygiene. This results in infections that require treatment with antibiotics and eventually lead to emergence of resistant strains of bacteria that fail to respond to antibiotics used to treat them.

Antibiotic resistance is a global problem. The following are ways to eradicate this scourge:

  • Accounting for all the antibiotic used. This applies to both healthcare providers and farmers. With this, healthcare providers and farmers will avoid irrational use of antibiotics.
  • Adoption of a policy that fosters protection of human health by restriction of non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in livestock.
  • Practicing proper hygiene by washing hands thoroughly and handling food hygienically decreases the risk of getting food-borne illnesses hence antibiotics for treatment may not be needed frequently.
  • Offering civic education to the people through mass media can come in handy in the eradication of antibiotic resistance. Lack of knowledge on the dangers of drug abuse such as use of non-prescription medication has contributed immensely to antibiotic resistance. Plato said ignorance is the root and stem of all evil. Therefore, educating the masses on antibiotic resistance and how to deal with it can greatly help eradicate this problem.
  • Adequate training of healthcare professionals on the use of antibiotics. Healthcare professionals are in charge of dispensing medication to patients and the general population. With adequate training, healthcare professionals should uphold their professionalism and exercise integrity at all times.

Next time you think of self-medication or not finishing your treatment remember you could be developing superbugs that will be harmful to you and others as well. Eradication of antibiotic resistance begins with YOU!

Nalianya Emma
Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya.
+254705087428
emmanalianya@gmail.com

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FEDERATION OF AFRICAN MEDICAL STUDENTS’ ASSOCIATIONS (FAMSA) 31st GENERAL ASSEMBLY

⁠⁠⁠🌍 Federation of African Medical Students’ Associations (FAMSA)🌍

presents

31st General Assembly

Date 🗓 : 13th-17th September, 2017.

Venue 🏫 : Niger Delta University, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, Nigeria.

This historic event is an annual platform where medical students from over 30 African countries come together to discuss health issues pertaining to Africa.

Featuring:
🛑 Scientific Seminars/Lectures
⚫ Inter medical school Quiz
🔵 Sight seeing
✳ Native Dinner
🌐 General Election

DELEGATE FEES
➡ Nigerian: $16
➡ Foreign : $32

It promises to be enlightening, fun and adventurous. We look forward to your arrival at Yenagoa!
FAMSA….Towards the improvement of health in Africa

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DEPRESSION: A CALL FOR ACTION

On Wednesday 8th October 2014; my re-sit results were out and I failed. I had to re-do my 5th year of medical training. Where do I start? How do I get over this? ‘‘One day at a time….″ I told myself.

As the days turned into weeks, I felt my strength literally leave me. I was going through a downward spiral of mental anguish, unable to carry out even the simplest of tasks; I slept a lot, thought a lot but ate little. Then I figured; I was depressed.

It was difficult, oh yes, it was! Some days, I woke up with the world on my shoulders, some other days, I didn’t just care. I saw myself as a failure, a disappointment to my parents, my relatives, my friends and above all, myself.

I knew I had to act fast, to stop the “haemorrhage”, so i got to my feet and picked myself up again. I began to talk to other medical students who had repeated, I listened to motivational talks and I prayed a lot. Thank God it helped, it wasn’t all rosy but I got better, I felt better…. “All is well that ends well…” I said to myself.

Then it hit me, what about the “other medical students” who had experienced or will experience what I just went through? What about people from other walks of life?  How did or do they cope? Do they know they are depressed? Do they get the help they actually need? Then I concluded; depression is real.

Depression is an illness characterised by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that you normally enjoy, accompanied by an inability to carryout daily activities for at least two weeks (WHO). It affects people of all ages, from all walks of life and in all countries, yes even Cameroon, my country.

It can be long lasting or recurrent, substantially impairing a person’s ability to function at work or school, or cope with daily life. At its most severe, depression can lead to suicide.

According to WHO, depression is the second leading cause of death among 15 -29 year olds.

When mild, depression can be treated without medications but when moderate or severe, people may need medications and professional involvement treatments.

Depression often starts at a young age. It affects women more than men, and unemployed people are also at high risk.

It can affect anyone, no matter your social status. It can be caused by poverty, life events such as the death of a loved one, a relationship break-up, physical illness, and the list goes on and on.

Many of life’s experiences can predispose to depression:

How do you carter for your wife and kids when you just lost your job?

What do you do when you spend several years, looking for a job, but end up sitting at home with your degree in your pocket?

How do you carry on when you suddenly lose a loved one to the cold hands of death or a long term relationship which you cherished so dearly goes to waste?

When faced with such situations, we often feel worthless, useless and helpless. We then use unorthodox methods to mask or alleviate our pain (alcohol, marijuana, etc).

Don’t drown yourself in alcohol, don’t smoke that cigarette. It won’t help.

Find someone you trust; a relative, a friend, a spouse, or a medical professional and talk about it. I did so and it helped. You don’t have to do it all alone. Life is already hard as it is.

Depression is everywhere in our communities; unfortunately, it often goes unrecognized and is frequently attributed to “witch craft″. There’s also very little information available on the subject matter.

Non – specialists can reliably diagnose and treat depression as part of primary health care. Specialist care is needed for a small proportion of people with complicated depression or those who do not respond to first-line treatment.

Depression is treatable; we all have a role to play;

  • The governments health sector should organize awareness campaigns to educate the public on the subject matter.
  • Health care givers should empower themselves through workshops to be able to properly diagnose depression at its embryonic stage.
  • We should all be there for our loved ones when they are feeling down, let’s listen to them keenly, let’s talk with them, let’s let them know that they are not alone. This form of therapy is cheap, effective, and has no side effects.

Depression is more common than we think. Let’s pay attention, let’s talk…

 

NJANG MBENG EMMANUEL,
7TH Year medical student
Faculty of Health Sciences University of Buea,
Cameroon.

 

 

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FAMSA ANTIBIOTICS AWARENESS WEEK- ABC’s of Antibiotic Resistance

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.
nkwaincarlson.blogspot.com.ng

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FAMSA BULLETIN

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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