Written by Timothy Okooboh (B.Pharm, PharmD, Antibiotic Guardian).
The highly anticipated event titled Me You And The Superbugs, was held on Saturday 13th of October, 2018 at Shepherd Specialist Hospital, Festac Town, Lagos, Nigeria. It was a free public engagement and fun science event sponsored by the Royal Society of Biology, UK as part of Biology Week 2018. The purpose of the event was to raise awareness of antibiotic resistance in Nigeria and positively change our behaviour regarding the use of the life saving medicines called antibiotics.
An interesting aspect of the event which is worthy of commendation was that it also featured a research survey to determine the knowledge and attitude of Nigerians toward antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance. The research was guided by strict standard ethical protocols to ensure a valid result is obtained which may be used to formulate an appropriate intervention suitable for resolving the issue of antibiotic resistance in the Nigerian community. The research participants were good representation of a typical Nigerian public as it included post graduate students, teachers, lawyers, health professionals, business men and women etc. The audience for the event also included children and their parents or guardians.
Don’t be mute about antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotic resistance is the ability of bacteria to withstand the killing or growth inhibitory action of antibiotics which were once able to treat infections caused by them. That is, it is a phenomenon whereby antibiotics are no longer able to effectively treat infections which they were once able to treat because the disease-causing bacteria have become resistant. The resistant bacteria are sometimes called Superbugs.
NB:Antimicrobial resistance is a more general term that refers to the resistance of bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses to antibiotics, antifungals, antiprotozoals and antivirals respectively.
The most important reason bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics is our misuse of these life saving medicines. So in order to win the fight against antibiotic resistance, we must start using antibiotics rightly and improve our personal and environmental hygiene to prevent the spread of resistant bacteria from person to person and animal to person.
Did you know that:
- Antibiotic resistance is responsible for an estimated 700,000 yearly deaths globally.
- By 2050, if the issue of antibiotic resistance is not resolved the estimated yearly deaths globally will rise to 10 million.
- The number of people who die each year across Europe from infections resistant to antibiotics is 25,000.
- 33 years is the period of time since a new class of antibiotics for human treatment was last introduced, despite the fact that growing numbers of bacterial and viral infections are resistant to antibiotics.
We must use antibiotics rightly and help spread awareness about antibiotic resistance because if bacteria becomes resistant to our antibiotics, many routine treatments will again become increasingly dangerous. Setting broken bones, basic operations, even chemotherapy all rely on access to antibiotics that work.
Presenters at the Me You And The Superbugs Event.
The event featured Nigerian scientists from various specializations who took science to the streets of Lagos such that even those without an in depth knowledge of science could understand antibiotics and antibiotic resistance.
Dr. Udeme C. Nwabuko, the Chief Medical Director, Bethesda Family Clinic & Maternity, spoke on “how to take antibiotics correctly“. Some of the ways to take antibiotics correctly according to Dr. Nwabuko are :
- Take antibiotics only when prescribed by your doctor.
- Take antibiotics at the right dosage as recommended by your doctor.
- Take antibiotics at the right times as recommended by your doctor or pharmacist.
- Take antibiotics throughout the duration prescribed by your doctor even if you feel well before completing the antibiotics.
Dr. Orode Aniejurengho, a PostDoctoral Research Associate, University of Oxford, who was also the organizer of the event showcased the wonderful world of superbugs in our midst.
Pharm. (Mrs.) Folashade Lawal, MD Victory Drugs Pharmacy, one of the most influential pharmacists in Nigeria, presented on an interactive and practical session titled “the future is in your hands”. According to Mrs. Lawal, regular and proper washing of our hands can help to prevent infections and the spread of resistant microorganisms or superbugs. When our hands are properly washed, infections are prevented. When infections are prevented, the need for antibiotics is reduced. When antibiotics are used less frequently, antibiotic-induced selective pressure which is a phenomenon that encourages the multiplication and spread of resistant microorganisms while killing susceptible ones is reduced.
Dr. Chinyere Okoro, Academic Fellow, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, UK, spoke about the career opportunities in science.
Antibiotic Resistance; What Can You Do?
Having realized how important it is for everyone to be involved in the fight against antibiotic resistance, you can become an Antibiotic Guardian just like me. Click here to become an Antibiotic Guardian.
The Antibiotic Guardian campaign was launched in 2014 to kick-start collective action from both health and social care professionals, students, educators in the human and animal health sector as well as members of the public to work together to slow the spread of antibiotic resistance.
By pledging to become an Antibiotic Guardian, you choose to perform a simple action which protects antibiotics against the threat of antibiotic resistance.
Though the Me You And The Superbugs event 2018 has come and gone but its impact and contribution towards overcoming antibiotic resistance in Nigeria will remain for a very long time. It is hoped that the awareness will continue in our homes, schools, offices, churches and every part of our communities and most importantly that we use antibiotics rightly!
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