Stop senseless use of antibiotics

GLOBAL consumption of antibiotics has soared since the year 2000, stoking calls for new policies to rein in irrational use, fuelling fears that the worldwide threat posed by drug-resistant superbugs will spiral out of control. A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), based on sales data for 76 countries confirms growing consumption of antibiotics but shockingly the consumption is much higher in three countries – Pakistan, China and India. In Pakistan, the consumption has increased by 65%.
There are reasons to believe that doctors in Pakistan prescribe antibiotics in a wholesale manner, putting health of the people at high risk for rest of their life. This is particularly so in the case of infants and children who usually get high doses of antibiotics at the hands of doctors sitting in every street who prescribe these medicines without obtaining laboratory tests, which is a must in civilised countries. Poor sanitation, irregular access to vaccination and lack of clean drinking water are some of the major reasons that lead to infectious diseases and drug-resistant infections to spread. Experts say radical rethinking of policies to reduce consumption is necessary, including major investment in improved hygiene, sanitation, vaccination and access to diagnostic tools both to prevent unnecessary antibiotic use and to decrease the burden of infectious disease. The study says eliminating overuse of antibiotics should be a first step and a priority for every country especially given the alarming projection that by 2030, consumption may have increased by another 200%. We hope that the Federal Health Ministry and provincial health departments would look into the problem minutely and take measures to prevent overuse of antibiotics and the government should improve general sanitation in all cities and towns and also ensure supply of clean drinking water to help check spread of infectious diseases.

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