Namibia commemorates World Antimicrobial Awareness Week

Namibia on Tuesday commemorated World Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Awareness Week, a global campaign held between 18 November to 24 November to raise awareness of AMR, as well as preventing the emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections.

Windhoek Central Hospital Medical Doctor, Josef Shivute, said a lot needs to be done to ensure that the current misconceptions surrounding the use of antibiotics are put to rest. Shivute was part of a panel at the Government Information Centre, discussing the importance of antimicrobial resistance awareness.

Other panelists included the Pharmacology and Therapeutics Head of Department at the University of Namibia, Mwangana Mubita, Lee-Monique Anderson, a Veterinarian from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and Maureen Hoes, a registered nurse.

According to Shivute, the biggest misconceptions in Namibia include that antibiotics may treat every infection and that a patient may discontinue antibiotics treatment after feeling better without completing th
e course, and that it is okay to store antibiotics and use them at a later stage.

‘The biggest misconception is that antibiotics affect women’s birth control. There is no evidence supporting this. Antibiotics primarily treat bacterial infections and not flu, for example. Patients should complete the course even after they start feeling better. The treatment has to be maintained to get rid of the microbes. It is problematic for people to store antibiotics in cabinets and use them after getting ill later. The prescribed antibiotics are meant to target specific illnesses,’ Shivute said.

Meanwhile, Hoes reiterated the importance of completing antibiotics courses, adding that failure to comply increases the chances of re-infection. She further explained that hospitalized patients are at risk of bloodstream or urinary infections, adding that if hospitals do not exercise the necessary precautions such as proper waste disposal, sterilisation of older equipment, wearing correct personal protective equipment, isolati
on and disinfection.

Anderson said that the misuse of antibiotics in animals poses a risk for food security, as this affects animal reproduction and consequently the livelihood of subsistence farmers.

‘The environment uses what you put into it. Humans and animals are interlinked and interdependent,’ she said.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency