Excessive antibiotic prescriptions harmful to children’s health: Study

ISLAMABAD, Dec 24 (APP):Low and middle countries have children who are being prescribed an excess amount of antibiotic during their earlier first five years that resists their ability to fight pathogens, new study said.

Antimicrobial resistance is considered as one of the global health and development threat today, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Excessive use of antibiotics worldwide is one such factor contributing to the threat. Mid-low countries often have children who fall sick frequently and they visit the hospital only to be over prescribed by antibiotics.

In Tanzania, for instance, several studies have shown that over 90 per cent of children who visit a health facility receive an antibiotic, although only in about 20 per cent of the treatment of the case was actually required.

Swiss TPH and Harvard Chan School research team analyzed data from 2007-2017 from health facilities and household surveys from eight countries: Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nepal, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda.

The study has found that on an average child received 25 antibiotic prescriptions through age five a ‘remarkable estimate’, the authors wrote, given that two antibiotic prescriptions per year are considered excessive in many high-income settings, Medical Daily reported .

Results showed that antibiotics were administered in 81 per cent of cases for children with a respiratory illness, in 50 per cent for children with diarrhoea, and in 28 per cent for children with malaria.
The excessive intake of antibiotics can also result in a concrete health impact on children, Valerie D’Acremont, lead author of the study said: “Excess antibiotic use destroys the natural gut flora which is essential to fighting pathogens.”

The research team is currently comparing policies at a country level to identify best practices that lead to lower antibiotic prescription rates.

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