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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Pharmacist-led interventions identified as critical in fighting antimicrobial resistance

Story by Abigirl Tembo, Health Editor

PHARMACISTS have been challenged to take a leading role in the fight against anti-microbial resistance as they are the primary point of contact for reducing drug-resistant diseases.

With the country reeling from drug-resistant TB and gonorrhea among other diseases, organisations governing the profession have implored pharmacists to take a proactive role in fighting anti-microbial resistance through dispensing medicines prescribed by doctors.

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines.

“A lot of advocacy has been done about the issue of anti-microbial irrational drug use we have got a lot of resistance that is sprouting, and we have a danger of most bacterial infections not going to be able to be treated so pharmacists are the custodians of medicines they are the ones that dispense medicines and it is in our best interests to ensure together with everyone in the health system that people should not be given antibiotics without prescriptions,” said the president of Community Pharmacist Association, Mr George Nyamayaro.

Speaking on the sidelines of commemorations to mark World Pharmacist Day, the Registrar for the Pharmacist Council of Zimbabwe Mr Alois Karonga noted the need for pharmacists to prioritise the health and well-being of their patients.

“We need to put the pharmacy profession first and foremost meaning that the patient is the one we are supposed to ensure that they are protected. We have also noticed that our practitioners are putting commercial gains ahead of professional gains therefore they are derelict in their duties they need to adhere to the rules that govern the dispensing of medicinal products as they would want to have more profit instead of them adhering to what is expected of them therefore at times.

“We have heard some cases where our practitioners or pharmacists dispense without prescriptions from medical practitioners to that effect the council will not lie low it is a serious offence, it’s an offence that the country may deregister such practitioners,” he said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about a third of all antibiotics prescribed in hospitals across the world are unwarranted.

The World Health Organisation states that antimicrobial resistance remains a global health threat, especially on the African continent where there are over 700 000 deaths annually and there could be an estimated 4.1 million deaths by 2050.

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