What is AMR?
Antimicrobial Resistance occurs when microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change in ways that render medications ineffective. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in response to the use of antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections making them ineffective. When microorganisms become resistant to most antimicrobial drugs they are often referred to as “superbugs”.
Antibiotics are prescription-only medications that fight bacteria in one of two ways: they either kill bacteria or stop bacteria from growing. Antibiotics don’t treat infections caused by viruses (like the common cold or flu) or fungi (like athlete’s foot or ringworm).
Antibiotic Resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development. It can affect anyone, of any age, in any country. Antibiotic resistance occurs naturally, but misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the process.
A growing number of infections are becoming harder to treat leading to longer hospital stays, higher medical costs and increased mortality.
Causes of Antibiotic Resistance
· Over-prescribing of antibiotics
· Patients not taking antibiotics as prescribed
· Unnecessary antibiotics used in agriculture
· Poor infection control in hospitals and clinics
· Poor hygiene and sanitation practices
· Lack of rapid laboratory tests
Deaths caused by antimicrobial resistance are increasing drastically as shown in the image.
By 2050 the estimated numbers of cancer related deaths is expected to be 8.2million per year, while the number of deaths caused by AMR is estimated to be 10million cases per year.
What is being done?
At the Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly in May 2015, the World Health Assembly endorsed a global action plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance, including antibiotic resistance, the most urgent drug resistance trend. The WHO and the MOH in Jordan have been working together since 2017 to raise awareness among doctors of this crisis.
What can you do to avoid Antibiotic resistance?
· Only use antibiotics when prescribed by a certified health professional
· Always take the full prescription, even if you feel better
· Never use left-over antibiotics
· Never share antibiotics with others
· Prevent infections by regularly washing your hands, avoiding contact with sick people and keeping your vaccinations up to date
MedLabs has an AMR committee, whose role is to monitor and collect data about bacterial sensitivity and resistance to certain antibiotics through antibiogram reports.This report shows how susceptible strains of pathogens are to a variety antibiotics.
MedLabs also has adapted the role of spreading awareness about AMR and the proper use of antibiotics, through patient pamphlets and scientific workshops.
Finally, directors and lab technicians contribute to teaching and advising patients on how to seek professional advice and prescribed antibiotics only when needed.
To this end MedLabs recently launched the Strep ‘A’ rapid throat swab test to help patients and doctors confirm whether a throat infection is viral or bacterial before presenting antibiotics.