A multi-hospital study reveals that nearly two-thirds of COVID-19 patients received antibiotics.
The study notes that while only 3.5 percent of them had confirmed concurrent bacterial infections, doctors continued to prescribe antibiotics to patients outside of trials, not just as part of a treatment line, but also as preventives measures.
Experts say though antibiotics are required to treat severe bacterial infections, misuse has contributed to a rise in bacterial resistance.
The overuse of fluoroquinolone and other antibiotics fuels antibiotic resistance in bacteria, which can inhibit the treatment of antibiotic-resistant infections.
They note that taking antibiotics too often or for the wrong reasons can change bacteria so much so that antibiotics don’t work against them.
This is called bacterial resistance or antibiotic resistance, experts say, noting that some bacteria are now resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics available.
“Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem,” scientists say.
The Federal Government has therefore been urged to adopt firm antimicrobial use monitoring in order to check antibiotics overuse, improper use, underdosing, and missed doses.
The FG is also warned that without concerted efforts to check antibiotic overuse, individuals might face significant threat from antibiotic resistance.
Speaking on the issue, Public Health expert, Dr. Gabriel Adakole, called on the Federal Government to fight antibiotic resistance, curb misuse in humans and monitor overuse in farm animals in the country.
Adakole made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Abuja.
NAN reports that the “One Health Approach” had earlier warned that the world’s antibiotic consumption could double from 2015 levels by 2030 without a policy intervention.
‘One Health’ is a collaborative, multisectoral, and transdisciplinary approach — working at the local, regional, national, and global levels — with the goal of achieving optimal health outcomes recognising the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment.
Adakole said that while there have been some progress on controlling antibiotic consumption in the country, the trend of increase in usage would shoulder the larger chunk of the burden of infectious diseases, while the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to undo much of these gains.
According to him, the global consumption of antibiotics has gone up by 90.9 percent since 2000, driven largely by a 165 percent increase in use.
He revealed that in one multi-hospital study, nearly two-thirds of the COVID-19 patients received antibiotics.
“While only 3.5 percent of them had a confirmed concurrent bacterial infection, many others continued to be prescribed by doctors, outside of trials, not just as part of a treatment-line, but also as preventives measures,” he said. .
He explained that even if consumption does not increase as drastically as envisaged, there could be tectonic consequences for global health from present levels of consumption.
Adakole said that antibiotic resistance problem brings out the twin-issue of overuse and lack of access.
He, however, noted that fixing this would need plugging many gaps, spanning multiple focus areas for policy.
“Not only greater vaccine coverage for preventable infections, but also ensuring sanitation access and proper effluent household, industrial and farm management is called for.
“The Federal Government also needs to quickly adopt firm anti-microbial use monitoring, as no solution will come about till the time overuse, improper use, underdosing, missed doses, are curbed among humans,” he advised.
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