United Nations – A World Health Organisation (WHO) survey released on Monday showed that over-use and misuse of antibiotics increase the development of resistant bacteria.
This is contained in a statement issued by WHO, made available to newsmen in New York.
The survey also showed that antibiotic resistance happened when bacteria change and became resistant to the antibiotics used to treat the infections they cause.
The survey also pointed out that some of the practices, gaps in understanding and misconceptions contributed to this phenomenon.
It said that as the organisation ramped up its fight against antibiotic resistance, a new multi-country survey showed that people were confused about this major threat to public health and did not understand how to prevent it from growing.
Almost two thirds of some 10,000 people who were surveyed across 12 countries, said they knew antibiotic resistance was an issue that could affect them and their families.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”70560″]
It showed that the people did not understand how it affected them and what they could do to address it.
It added that 64 per cent of respondents believed antibiotics could be used to treat colds and flu, in spite of the fact that antibiotics had no impact on viruses.
It stated that close to one third or 32 per cent of the people surveyed believed they should stop taking antibiotics when they feel better, rather than completing the prescribed course of treatment.
The multi-country survey included 14 questions on the use of antibiotics, knowledge of antibiotics and of antibiotic resistance, and used a mix of online and face-to-face interviews.
It was conducted in 12 countries: Barbados, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Serbia, South Africa, Sudan and Viet Nam.
In Nigeria, WHO said it carried out 664 face-to-face interviews.
It said that almost three quarters of respondents report taking antibiotics within the past six months; 75 per cent of respondents state they were prescribed or provided by a doctor or nurse.
It added that five per cent said they bought them from a stall or hawker.
The survey further showed that 47 per cent respondents in Nigeria than any other country included in the survey correctly identify that antibiotics do not work for colds and flu.
However, the WHO survey showed that 44 per cent of respondents in Nigeria, think that antibiotics works for colds and flu.
While not claiming to be exhaustive, WHO said that this and other surveys would help it and partners to determine the key gaps in public understanding of the problem and misconceptions about how to use antibiotics to be addressed through the campaign.
Some common misconceptions revealed by the survey include that three quarters of respondents, think that antibiotic resistance happened when the body become resistant to antibiotics.
It further stated that in fact bacteria, not humans or animals become resistant to antibiotics and their spread causes hard-to-treat infections.
The survey showed that two thirds of respondents believe that individuals are not at risk of a drug-resistant infection if they personally take their antibiotics as prescribed.
The survey further showed that nearly half of people surveyed think antibiotic resistance is only a problem for people who take antibiotics regularly.
WHO said that another key finding of the survey was that almost three quarters of respondents said farmers should give fewer antibiotics to food-producing animals.
NAN recalls that to address this growing problem, a global action plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance was endorsed at the World Health Assembly in May.
One of the five objectives, is to improve awareness and understanding of antibiotic resistance through effective communication, education and training. (NAN)