AMR related deaths feared to reach 10mn 2050 globally; UK Fund assists Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Feb 23 (APP): The antimicrobial or antibiotic resistance (AMR) has increased the risk of human deaths to reach 10 million per year by 2050 across the world due to declining efficiency of various modern medications curing infectious diseases caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi.

The UK’s Fleming Fund has initiated a stakeholder intervention in Pakistan to scale up public healthcare setup of Pakistan to enhance effective monitoring and data collection to curb the impending risk of antimicrobial or antibiotic resistance (AMR) causing serious health complications leading to death.

Country Director Fleming Fund Dr Ayesha told APP that non-prescribed and excessive use of antibiotics in infectious diseases, epidemics and other health issues was causing the emergence of resistant bugs making many of the modern diseases ineffective.

She said: “A global study reveals that around 10 million people per year will perish due to AMR by 2050 with relatively low income countries of Asia and Africa bearing most of the deaths burden.” Dr Ayesha warned that there was urgent need to raise awareness among the masses and medical practitioners alike to shun unnecessary use of antibiotics as most of the chronic diseases were curable without antibiotic intake.

The Country Director informed that the Fund was established five years back, in the honour of Sir Alexander Fleming who discovered the first antibiotic named “penicillin”, to support low income countries for fighting back AMR causing deaths.

She added that the Fund has been working in Pakistan since July, 2019 and has extended its support to the government institutions for enhancing their capacity to monitor and prevent antimicrobial resistance.

The Fund core priorities were to apprise policy makers for informed decision making to protect the masses from the risk of AMR, strengthening laboratory capacity in public hospitals to effectively trace and monitor AMR presence and training of clinicians advising antibiotic use to the patients.

She added that two things were necessary to be implemented at the government level. Firstly, a holistic and inclusive communication and awareness training of the doctors should be organized on AMR hazards, public awareness and education on the issue and ban on sale of antibiotics without prescriptions.

Dr Ayesha told that the Fund in collaboration with the World Health Organization, and under the leadership of the National Institute of Health has surveyed prescription centers in tertiary care hospitals across the country. “As many as 14 hospitals’ prescription survey has been completed and data analysis is underway; whereas a survey is also being conducted for an additional six hospitals.”

She added that there was lack of microbiologists and trained workforce in public hospitals labs where the Fund was focusing on strengthening and overhauling of labs in this regard. “The Fund will not only rehabilitate the labs rather necessary lab equipment as per the need of the particular health facility will be provided.”

She went on to mention that the government needed to provide opportunities to energetic youth qualified in the field of microbiology to help overcome gaps in human resources that are needed for coping with the risk of AMR.

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