‘Get correct doses of medication’
19 July 2017
. . . to avoid disease resistance
THE Ministry of Health and Child Care has warned the public to seek treatment at formal health institutions where they can get the correct doses of medication to guard against disease resistance.
The warning comes in the wake of reports by World Health Organisation that untreatable strains of gonorrhoea were on the rise with treatment options fast running out.
Head of the AIDS and Tuberculosis Unit in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr Owen Mugurungi said those people who seek treatment on the ‘streets’ and unorthodox treatment facilities could pose a threat to treatment outcomes.
“We fear for that group of people who are not being treated at public health facilities for gonorrhoea, these can have treatment compromised and this can lead to resistance if they are not given the proper medication.
“As the Ministry, we have managed gonorrhoea by using a single dose of injection for treatment unlike the use of tablets which one can default thereby leading to disease resistance.
“As a country, for nearly 20 years we have been using a single dose of injection called rocephine and this has helped us manage the situation but the threat is with those who do not seek treatment and convectional health facilities,” he said.
Dr Mugurungi urged those who cannot seek treatment at public health institutions for various reasons to at least adhere to treatment to avoid resistance.
The World Health Organisation has already issued a warning over antibiotic resistance with reports that 77 countries have show resistance for the common sexually transmitted infection, making it much harder and sometimes impossible to treat.
Tuberculosis, Malaria, HIV are some of the diseases that have already shown resistance and Zimbabwe is among the countries that are grappling with Multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.
Every time a disease resists treatment, the costs for treatment shoot up according to health experts.
The global health body early this year published a list of bacteria for which new antibiotics are urgently needed.
This list was classified into three categories according to the urgency of need (critical, high and medium priority).
The most critical group of all includes multidrug resistant bacteria that pose a particular threat in health facilities and among patients whose care requires devices such as ventilators and blood catheters. According to the list, these include Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas and various Enterobacteriaceae (including Klebsiella, E. coli, Serratia, and Proteus) and they can cause severe and often deadly infections such as bloodstream infections and pneumonia.
World Health Organisation says this critical group of bacteria has become resistant to a larger number of antibiotics, including carbapenems and third generation cephalosporins – the best available antibiotics for treating multi-drug resistant bacteria.
With the growing antibiotic resistance, these bacteria have built-in abilities to find new ways to resist treatment and ca pass along genetic material that allows other bacteria to become drug-resistant as well.
In the list, the high and medium categories contain other increasingly drug-resistant bacteria that cause more common diseases such as gonorrhoea and food poising caused by salmonella.
The World Health Organisation is calling for better prevention of infections and appropriate use of existing antibiotics in humans and animals as well as rational use of any new antibiotics that are developed in future to address resistance.
The global health body posits that the development of new antibiotics is not very attractive for commercial pharmaceutical companies while treatments are taken only for short periods of time (unlike medicines for chronic diseases) and they become less effective as resistance develops, meaning that the supply of new drugs constantly needs to be replenished.
This has prompted the launch of the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP), a not-for-profit research and development organization, hosted by DNDi, to address this issue.
GARDP’s mission is to develop new antibiotic treatments and promote appropriate use, so that they remain effective for as long as possible, while ensuring access for all in need. One of GARDP’s key priorities is the development of new antibiotic treatments for gonorrhoea.