Ghana Health Experts Urge Public to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance through Responsible Medication Use

Accra, Ghana – Health experts in Ghana are raising alarm over the increasing rates of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), urging the public to avoid self-medication and misuse of drugs. The call was made by Mr. Benjamin Ampadu, Head of Pharmacy at Focus Orthopedic Hospital, during a panel discussion in Accra marking this year’s World Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Week.

According to Ghana News Agency, self-medication and the incorrect use of drugs are contributing to the growing problem of AMR. He emphasized the importance of resisting self-diagnosis and medication, as these practices can lead to the development of drug-resistant infections. The week-long global campaign, celebrated from November 18-24, aims to raise awareness about AMR and promote best practices among health stakeholders to curb the emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections.

Mr. Ampadu strongly advised the public to use antibiotics only under medical prescription and to avoid using leftover medications or those obtained without a doctor’s prescription. He also highlighted the responsibility of pharmacies in preventing the sale of antibiotics without prescriptions and called on them to provide professional advice and services.

The pharmacist stressed the importance of adhering to prescriptions, including the frequency and duration of medication intake. He warned against both overuse and underuse of prescribed medications and advised against purchasing medications from unregulated sources such as drug peddlers in markets.

Dr. Francis Addai, a Family Physician and Head of Medical Services at Focus Orthopedic Hospital, addressed the misuse of antibiotics in treating respiratory infections in children. He outlined clear guidelines for using antibacterial agents, emphasizing that antibiotics should not be used in the first week of a viral infection and only considered in subsequent weeks if it becomes bacterial.

Dr. Irene Adorkor Wulff, CEO of Focus Orthopedic Hospital, highlighted that AMR has been observed in infections like tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV. She advised the public on the smart use of medications and antibiotics and emphasized the role of vaccines in preventing viral and bacterial infections.

Dr. Gifty Boateng, Head of the Natural Public Health and Reference Laboratory at the Ghana Health Service, called for the implementation of policies to regulate the usage of antimicrobials in humans and animals. AMR, a natural process exacerbated by human activities such as poor infection control and medication misuse, poses a significant threat to public health. It complicates the treatment of infections and undermines the efficacy of medical procedures, making surgeries and cancer treatments riskier.