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Common man unaware of antibiotic resistance, says WHO survey

The common man does not seem to know much about antibiotic abuse and resistance, and the threat it poses to public health.

In fact, a World Health Organisation (WHO) survey conducted in 12 countries has said that most people don’t understand how to keep antibiotic resistance from growing.

Overuse and misuse of antibiotics causes bacteria to become resistant.

The WHO survey points out some of the practices, gaps in understanding and misconceptions that contribute to this phenomenon.

Almost two thirds (64 per cent) of the 10,000 people surveyed across the 12 countries said they knew antibiotic resistance could affect them and their families.

However, they do not understand how it affects them and what they can do to address it.

Around 64 per cent of the respondents believe that antibiotics can be used to treat cold and flu.

This is despite the fact that antibiotics have no impact on viruses. Close to one third (32 per cent) of those surveyed believe they should stop taking antibiotics when they feel better, rather than completing the prescribed course of treatment.

Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO said: “The rise of antibiotic resistance is a global health crisis. Governments recognize it as one of the greatest challenges for public health today.”

“It is reaching dangerously high levels in all parts of the world. Antibiotic resistance is compromising our ability to treat infectious diseases and undermining many advances in medicine,” added Dr. Chan.

The findings of the survey coincide with the launch of a WHO campaign called ‘Antibiotics: Handle with care’. The campaign is a global initiative that seeks to improve understanding of the problem and change the way antibiotics are used.

As part of this, the WHO will be working with governments, health authorities and other partners to limit antibiotic resistance.

Among the countries included in the survey were China, India, Nigeria, the Russian Federation, Serbia, South Africa, Sudan and Vietnam.

While not claiming to be exhaustive, this and other surveys are expected to help the WHO determine the key gaps in public understanding of the problem and address misconceptions about how to use antibiotics.

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Printable version | Apr 13, 2021 2:00:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/common-man-unaware-of-antibiotic-resistance-says-who-survey/article7890004.ece

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