According to the country’s Chief Medical Officer, (CMO), Dr. Patrick Martin, this year’s observance, highlights the pressing issue of antimicrobial resistance.
The COM conceded that resistance is not a new problem, but one that has emerged over the decades, as a result of the inherent genetic capabilities of microbes (germs) and more importantly, inappropriate medicine use by humans.
Martin stated that when antimicrobials are misused and abused, the onset of resistance is accelerated leading to their ineffectiveness. New medicines have to be developed which come to market at very high prices. Lack of medicine affordability is a threat to health and lives, said the doctor.
The Chief Medical Officer however, gave the assurance that the Ministries of Health are continuing to address medicine resistance in the following ways:
1. Adopting policies that promote strict adherence to the rules of rational use of medicines.
2. Strengthening of pharmacy-related legislation to, among other things, provide an enhanced legal foundation for effective and safe practices.
3. Maintaining a consistent supply of essential medicines including antimicrobials.
4. Ensuring barrier-free access to essential medicines by select groups of persons.
5. Ongoing support of the medical education of care-providers.
6. Regular public advisories to promote proper use of medicines in general.
Dr. Martin said the cooperation of the general public is being solicited to protect the population’s health from persons profiting from dangerous medicine prescribing and selling practices. Antimicrobials are made for specific medical conditions. Obtaining antimicrobials without a prescription from a registered medical doctor is unethical, illegal and unsafe.
Medicines advertised on the Internet and on television must be avoided at all costs, said Dr. Martin, because their quality is not guaranteed.
The CMO offered the following useful consumer protection tips which include:
· If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
· Nothing worth having comes cheap.
· There is no such thing as a free lunch
The opportunity is taken to reiterate the fact that while antimicrobials play a key role in health improvement, the major factors in protecting and maintaining good health are good sanitation (including clean air, decent housing, and proper waste disposal and drainage), personal hygiene, and adequate supplies of clean drinking water and fresh food.
World Health Day was celebrated under the theme: Antimicrobial resistance: no action today, no cure tomorrow.