World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) 2021 kicked off on November 18 and runs through November 24 under the theme: ‘Spread Awareness, Stop Resistance.’
Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses, and fungi.
AMR is a global health and development threat. It requires urgent multisectoral action in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that AMR is one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity.
The one-week period is being observed all around the world and by the Collective Prevention Services (CPS), an executive agency of the Ministry of Public health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA) is making use of the opportunity to bring awareness via this communication so all persons can be attentive on the use of antibiotics, and to encourage best practices among the public, and health workers.
PAHO: “Antimicrobial resistance happens when microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites) change when they are exposed to antimicrobial drugs (such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, antimalarials, and anthelmintics).”
Microorganisms that develop antimicrobial resistance is a global concern because new resistance mechanisms are emerging and spreading globally, threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases, resulting in prolonged illness, disability, and death.
Medicines become ineffective and infections persist in the body, increasing the risk of spread to others and prolonged hospital stays.
Without effective antibiotics, the success of major surgery and cancer chemotherapy would be compromised.
Countries in the Americas according to PAHO are reporting surges in drug-resistant infections that are likely due to the unprecedented misuse of antimicrobial drugs in the treatment of COVID-19.
Data shows that more than 90% of hospitalized COVID patients in the Americas were given an antimicrobial, while only 7% required these drugs to treat a secondary infection. It is documented that drugs such as Ivermectin, Azithromycin and Chloroquine were widely used, despite strong evidence that they have no benefit against COVID-19, according to information released by PAHO.
“With many ICUs in the region operating at 2 to 3 times their capacity during the pandemic, there has also been a rise in invasive procedures such as intubation and ventilation. This, combined with issues such as overcrowding and the limited availability of personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves and gowns, also contributed to hospital infections spreading more quickly,” PAHO said in a statement.