Here is a crisis with us, a crisis so serious it could potentially wipe out the entire human species, yet very few are talking about it. Perhaps most people do not understand the magnitude of the problem, or rather the genesis of it. I will try and simplify this crisis in a language that you can all understand and perhaps share it in other languages for others.
What is antimicrobial resistance? Antimicrobial resistance occurs when microorganisms such as bacteria change when they are exposed to antimicrobial drugs. This change means that the microorganisms become “hardened” and hence do not respond to treatment.
Why is it important? It is important because it hinders our ability to treat common infectious diseases which ultimately could lead to death. Imagine dying from a sore throat? Seems far fetched right? Antimicrobials are important during routine surgical operations and in people with cancer and diabetes. A surgery can be successful but an infection can cause detrimental effects.So what causes this change or rather resistance?
Several factors contribute to antibiotic resistance but am only going to talk about one of them for now which I think most of us can relate to.
Poor drug compliance which simply means you are given a certain prescription to treat a certain condition and the doctor tells you to make sure you finish your dose and am sure what most people hear during that speech is blah blah blah. I can tell you for a fact that most of you have pills in your drug cabinets from that time you were sick where you stopped taking the pills the minute the symptoms disappeared. Some of you used to (and some of you still do) share drugs, for example, when a member in the family had malaria or was coughing that same person would stop using the drugs when the symptoms disappeared and the next member in the family who would succumb to the disease would finish the prescription,because hey, we are treating the same condition right? Killing two birds with one stone?
Another scenario is when you are told to take the drug three times a day and you do it twice, or you are told not to take this medication with certain foods and alcohol, but alcohol is so tempting and you end up unable to comply.
In summary, if you are given a certain prescription by your doctor, it is advisable to just complete the dose no matter how gruesome it is. If you stop halfway, there is a high chance that the bacteria will mutate and hence become resistant. Bottom line is, always finish your prescription.