From the 18th through the 24th of November each year the World Health Organization (WHO) advances her campaign on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).
A report from the WHO explains that ” Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines, making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death. As a result of drug resistance, antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines become ineffective and infections become increasingly difficult or impossible to treat.
In the University of Port Harcourt Teaching hospital the campaign is advanced by the department of Microbiology and Parasitology. The head of department, who is also the focal person, Infection Prevention and Control/Antimicrobial stewardship, Dr. Mary Adanma Alex-Wele before joining management for an hospital community awareness campaign said Antimicrobial resistance is a global public health challenge and UPTH is commemorating this year’s campaign to lay emphasis on standard precautions for antimicrobial use and resistance issues, marking what the WHO has rebranded as “World Antimicrobial Resistant week”. The week she said is set to “remind us as health care workers to use antimicrobials judiciously and rationally- that means use antimicrobials which includes antibiotics for bacteria, antivirals for viral agents, antifungals for antifungal agents and antiparasitic agents.. that means we should rely on laboratory diagnosis to tell us what is wrong with the patient so that we can use the appropriate antimicrobials” to avert resistance , according to Dr. M. A. Alex-Wele.
She disclosed that UPTH has an Infection prevention and control committee merged with Antimicrobial stewardship committee, working to ensure standard practice at insuring safe clinical practice amongst staff, such that while caring for the sick, health workers do not get infected and take back home to their loved ones, and/or also cause patient to patient infection. She highlighted one of such safe practice which includes the adherence to the WHO five moments hand hygiene. The execution in clinical care is for self and patient care . Noting that “causes of antimicrobial resistance is exposure to germs”.
Dr. Alex-Wele also called attention to the World AMR Awareness Week (WAAW) 2023, themed “Preventing antimicrobial resistance together” focusing on AMR threat to humans, animals, plants and the environment, and the need for safe practice to be adopted by those who rare and keep animals, those involved in plant produce and the caution in safe waste disposal, with particular reference to appropriate medical waste disposal – encouraging “collaborative effort to prevent antimicrobial resistance in a manner of one health approach”.
Aside other activities in commemorating the AMR week, representative of hospital management, consultants, scientist, other health workers in the department took a tour round the UPTH community to raise the awareness on Antimicrobial resistance prevention on Tuesday 21st of November 2023.