MANILA, Philippines – Health Secretary Francisco Duque III calls on the public anew to do away with the self-medication practice but to go to public health centers or private hospitals instead to consult and to obtain proper diagnosis or prescription.
Duque’s call came amid the increasing threat of antimicrobial resistance.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines antimicrobial resistance as the ability of a microorganism to stop a microbial such as antivirals, antibiotics, and antimalarials from working against it.
Based on the latest report of the WHO, about 700,000 people die each year due to antimicrobial resistance.
The international health body fears this number will rise to 10 million by 2050.
The WHO says antimicrobial resistance is a serious global health concern as it compromises the ability to treat infectious diseases as well as undermines many other advances in medicine in both human and animal health.
“Tanggalin po natin ang self-medication behavior natin. Kasi hindi naman po kayo nagpakadalubhasa na nag- aral para maging doctor. Kapag kayo po ay naresetahan ng gamot, antibiotics lalong lalo na ay mangyari lang po na buoin po natin ang reseta at huwag po natin pini-piraso,” Duque advised.
Health officials say a patient should strictly follow the doctors’ prescription to avoid microbial resistance which occurs due to the misuse of antibiotics.
A person suffering from colds and other common illnesses should also refrain from using antibiotics.
“Many people believe that antibiotics are general medicine that should be used whenever there’s an infection but that is not true. Antibiotics are very powerful drugs that need to be used very carefully and very targeted manner,” explained Dr. Gundo Weiler, WHO Country Representative.
Aside from its effects on human health, the animal sector is also facing threats of antimicrobial resistance as some small-scale poultry raisers tend to abuse the use of antibiotics, according to the bureau of animal industry.
Some poultry raisers believe that the use of antibiotics in food will help their animals grow faster and bigger.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) prohibits this practice as animals might become antimicrobial resistant and develop harmful diseases that might be transmitted to humans upon consumption.
This is the reason why the department of health and the department of agriculture are planning to regulate the use of antibiotics in animals.
“Although we have a list of all the agricultural suppliers, they can freely sell. There’s no restriction as of the moment. We have no law banning the sale of antibiotics for animals. That’s what we would want to have in the nation, an antimicrobial plan,” Dr. Jocelyn Salvador of BAI concluded. – Aiko Miguel