Antibiotic resistance fight is a shared responsibility – Minister 0

Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Minister of Health, on Monday said everyone, including health workers, must get involved in the antibiotic resistance campaign and urged the public to adhere to the simple best practices to prevent further re-occurrence.

He said antibiotic resistance had come about due to many complicated factors and needed to be tackled holistically.

The Minister said this in a speech read on his behalf at the launch of this year’s World Antibiotics Awareness Week (WAAW) on the theme: “Think Twice. Seek Advice,” in Accra.

It was organised jointly by the Ministry and the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO), Organisation of Food and Agriculture, World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and Hope For Future Generation, a Civil Society Organisation.

WAAW is celebrated every year in November to increase global awareness of antibiotics resistance and to encourage best practices among the public, health workers and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.

Mr Agyeman-Manu said the major cause of resistance had been attributed to irresponsible use including incorrect medical indications, inappropriate self-medication, non-adherence to therapy, over-the-counter sale of antibiotics from unlicensed pharmacies and unapproved outlets and inappropriate use in animals across all sectors.

“When antibiotics are obtained and used inappropriately, selective pressure is brought to bear, favouring the emergence of resistance strains. Without urgent action, we are heading for a post-antibiotic era, where common infectious diseases will pose a challenge to treatment,” he added.

“For Ghana, this phenomenon could have dire consequences on the poor and vulnerable as well as the affluent. Thus, effort at controlling and containing resistance have been designed from a broad perspective as well as within the framework of regional and global networking and information sharing.”

These, interventions, the Minister said, had been duly put into policy and a comprehensive action plan with monitoring and evaluation framework also developed.

Dr Owen Kaluwa, the WHO Country Representative to Ghana, said this year, the Organisation had introduced sub-themes to showcase the immense work underway to tackle antimicrobial resistance, which demonstrated “how antibiotics are linked to humans, animals and the environment”.

“Nothing less than global health security is at stake when antibiotics are misused, from being miracle life-savers, antibiotics are becoming ineffective against resistant infections, which can affect anyone of any age, in any country at any time,” he said.

“Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria (not in humans or animals) become resistant to the active ingredients in these medicines. These resistant bacteria may infect humans and animals, making infections like pneumonia, tuberculosis and gonorrhoea harder to treat.”

“Africa lacks data on the scope and scale of antibiotic resistance. However, we know that antibiotic resistance is rising because common bacteria, which cause urinary tract infections, diarrhoea and septic wounds, among others, are becoming resistant to readily available and prescribed antibiotics.”

Mr Kaluwa, therefore, suggested investments to build a smarter world for safe and effective medicines, saying; “Research and development is the cornerstone of new, life-saving antibiotics.”

He called on governments, funding agencies and the private sector to invest and work together to secure safe, effective medicines for generations to come.

Dr Bashiru Boi Kikimoto, the Head of Public Health of Veterinary Services, said it was estimated that over 70 per cent of all antimicrobials in use globally were in the animal sector, with only 30 per cent used in humans.

That, he said, was a big challenge to the veterinary profession, hence, the more reason why OIE had tasked all countries through the veterinary medical focal persons to gather data on antimicrobials in use in various countries.

Dr Kofi Afatse, the FAO Representative, said antibiotic resistance was becoming a public concern and called for measures to counter the menace at all levels through intensive public awareness creation.

Ms Yvonne Esseku, the Vice President of PSGH, called on all stakeholders to do their part to preserve “the antibiotics that we have”.

That, she said, they should be done through acquiring antibiotics from qualified health professionals and to complete the full course as prescribed even when one felt better after a few days of treatment.

She also advised the public to discuss issues about antibiotics with pharmacists, obtain them with prescriptions, share information about their abuse and misuse with others and avoid sharing them with friends even if they seemed to have the same symptoms.

GNA

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Radio drama improves people’s attitude to health 0

A radio drama project to promote child nutrition, agriculture and maternal/child health issues has shown an improved attitude of listeners to such issues.

According to the project implemented for six months at Saboba and Savelugu Assemblies in the Northern Region in 2018, those, who listened to the radio dramas on child nutrition, agriculture and maternal/child health issues, improved in terms of their attitude towards those issues compared to those, who did not listen.

The project, whose findings were released at a workshop in Tamale on Friday, used radio dramas to propagate messages on good nutrition, health and agricultural practices to listeners to assess if listening to such messages would have any impact on their lives.

It was implemented by the Texas A&M University School of Public Health in the United States, University for Development Studies (UDS), Ghana Health Service (GHS), Ministry of Food and Agriculture, and Community Health Nurses Training College, Tamale.

Dr Mahama Saaka, Senior Lecturer, Department of Nutritional Sciences of UDS, who presented the findings at a forum in Tamale, said even though the attitude of listeners improved, it did not result in a change in their health conditions as malnutrition was still high at the area.

Dr Saaka suggested that Ghana Health Service scale up the project to reach a large number of the population to help change their attitudes to help improve the country’s health indicators.

Professor Lisako McKyer, Associate Dean for Climate and Diversity, Health Promotion and Community Health Science at Texas A&M University was hopeful that the project marked the beginning of a productive partnership amongst the implementers saying “Together, we can and we will positively impact the lives of all.”

Hajia Azara Amadu, Northern Regional Nutrition Officer lauded the project saying it was in line with the behavioural change campaigns of the GHS to promote improved health practices amongst the people.

Source: GNA

Teen Dies of Tapeworm infection after eating under-cooked Pork 0

A man died after eating under-cooked pork caused parasitic larvae to invade his brain.

The 18-year-old, who has not been named but is known to be from India, was rushed to a hospital after he lost consciousness following a seizure.

An MRI brain scan revealed the patient had cysts throughout his brain, with the damage being consistent with the life-threatening condition neurocysticercosis.

Neurocysticercosis occurs when parasitic larvae found in under-cooked pork build-up in the body until they invade the central nervous system, triggering seizures.

Despite doctors’ best efforts to save him, the man died two weeks later.

Results of an MRI scan revealed the man had numerous cysts in his cerebral cortex (pictured as white dots)
Lesions were also found in his brain stem and cerebellum (seen as white dots)

Results of an MRI scan revealed the man had numerous cysts in his cerebral cortex (pictured left as white dots). Lesions were also found in his brain stem and cerebellum (seen right)

The case report was written up in The New England Journal of Medicine by Dr Nishanth Dev, of ESIC Medical College, Faridabad, in the north Indian state of Haryana. Dr Dev treated the patient.

The man was rushed to ESIC Medical College after he endured tonic-clonic seizures.

These occur when an electrical discharge affects the entire brain and cause a patient to lose consciousness immediately.

Tonic-clonic seizures usually last one-to-three minutes.

If they continue for more than five minutes or in quick succession, the patient may require life-saving treatment.

Once at hospital, doctors noted the man seemed confused.

This is common of tonic-clonic seizures, with most patients feeling tired and disorientated for up to several days or even weeks after.

The man’s parents reported he had been complaining of pain in his groin for the past week.

A physical examination also revealed he had swelling in his right eye, as well as tenderness in his right testicle.

An MRI scan showed the patient had numerous cysts in his cerebral cortex – the outermost layer of the brain, which is responsible for thinking and processing information collected via our five senses.

Lesions were also in his brain stem, which is at the base of the vital organ, and sends messages between the brain and the rest of the body.

And cysts were found in his cerebellum – the area at the back of the brain that coordinates voluntary movements, like posture, speech and coordination.

Doctors noted the extent of the man’s brain damage was consistent with that of neurocysticercosis.

Neurocysticercosis occurs when the parasitic larvae Taenia solium invades bodily tissue from the intestine, and build ups in the central nervous system, muscles, skin and eyes.

Serum tests confirmed the man was infected with T. solium.

Doctors decided against treating him with antiparasitic drugs due to them typically worsening inflammation in those who have cysts in their brain.

These medications can also cause cerebral edema – excessive accumulation of water in the brain – and vision loss.

The man was therefore treated with the anti-inflammatory steroid dexamethasone, which is more commonly used to relieve conditions like allergies, arthritis and psoriasis.

He was also given anti-epilepsy drugs.

Sadly, however, it was not enough to save him.

WHAT IS NEUROCYSTICERCOSIS?

Neurocysticercosis is a parasitic infestation caused by larval cysts of the pork tapeworm Taenia solium.

These cysts can enter the brain, leading to life-threatening seizures.

People develop the condition by eating undercooked pork.

They may also swallow microscopic eggs passed in the faeces of a person with an intestinal tapeworm if they do not properly wash their hands after going to the toilet and contaminate surfaces or uncooked food.

The World Health Organization recognises neurocysticercosis as a leading cause of adult epilepsy worldwide.

Neurocysticercosis can be prevented through proper handwashing.

Treatment often involves medication to reduce swelling in the brain and kill tapeworms.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

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