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WHO Alarmed By Drug Resistance 

By Nformi Sonde Kinsai

The World Health Organisation, WHO, is alarmed by the increasing and persistent drug resistance to some infections caused by micro-organisms. The worry was highlighted, April 5, at the Faculty of Medicines and Biomedical Sciences, FMBS, at the University of Yaounde I, by the WHO Resident Representative for Cameroon, Dr. Charlotte Faty-Ndiaye.

The conference, a prelude to the World Health Day commemorated every April 7, was organised under the theme: “Combat Drug Resistance: No Action Today, No Cure Tomorrow.”
The conference, which took place in the presence of the Secretary General in the Ministry of Public Health, Prof. Fru Angwafor III, was moderated by the Dean of the FMBS, Prof. Tetanye Ekoe. In an opening statement, Dr. Ndiaye said the commemoration, which is the 63rd, marks the number of years of existence of WHO founded in 1948.

“World Health Day provides a unique opportunity for communities from across the world to come together for one day to promote action that can improve our health,” Dr. Ndiaye stated.
Referring to this year’s theme, she remarked that it came at the time when the country is grappling with the outbreak of cholera being treated by specific antibiotics.

“Antimicrobial resistance is not a new problem, but one that is becoming more dangerous. Many countries are taking action, but urgent and consolidated efforts are needed to avoid regressing to the pre-antibiotic era,” the WHO representative stated. A WHO information sheet notes that antimicrobial agents are medicines used to treat infections caused by micro-organisms including bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses.

It maintains that the discovery of antimicrobials is one of the most important advances in health in human history – alleviating suffering from disease and saving billions of lives over the past 70 years.

Drug or antimicrobial resistance, according to WHO, occurs when micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change in ways that render the medications used to cure the infections they cause ineffective.

“When the micro-organisms become resistant to most antimicrobials, they are often referred to as ‘superbugs.’ This is a major concern because a resistant infection may kill, can spread to others and, imposes huge costs on individuals and society,” a WHO document states.

It states further that antimicrobial resistance is facilitated by the inappropriate use of medicines such as taking substandard doses or not finishing a prescribed course of treatment; low-quality medicines, wrong prescriptions and poor infection control, are also blamed for the development and spread of drug resistance.

“Lack of Government commitment to address the issues, poor surveillance and a diminishing arsenal of tools to diagnose, treat and prevent, also hinder the control of drug resistance,” it was held. In the face of the growing phenomenon, WHO is issuing a call for action to halt the spread of antimicrobial resistance through a six-point policy package for all countries to combat antimicrobial resistance.

Targeted stakeholders for the call include policy makers and planners; the public and patients; practitioners and prescribers; pharmacists and dispensers and the pharmaceutical industry.
Prof. Emmanuel Eben-Moussi, Prof. Baudon, Dr. Roger Tayou Kamgue, Dr. Serge Edimo and Dr. Rose Ngono Mballa, presented papers at the conference.

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