Hospital to observe Antibiotic Awareness Week from today

The Infection Control Committee of Kasturba Hospital and the Dr. T.M.A. Pai Endowement Chair on Antimicrobial Stewardship, Manipal University, will observe the Global Antibiotic Awareness Week by organising a series of patient and care-giver awareness programmes from November 14 to 20.

A press release issued by the hospital here on Saturday said that this series of programmes was in response to the World Health Organisation’s call on action against antibiotic resistance.

The Global Antibiotic Awareness Week focuses on improving antimicrobial prescription practices among doctors, educating patients and the public on the safe use of antibiotics, and watching the bacterial resistance progression.

Foreseeing the catastrophe of antibiotic resistance in the hospital environment and community, Infection Control Committee at Kasturba Hospital, Manipal and Manipal University initiated antimicrobial stewardship programme.

Antibiotics, introduced in 1940, are not “smart bombs” which can selectively target and destroy the bad bacteria and leave the good cells of human body around them alone. On the other hand, they wipe out whole populations of bacteria — both good and bad, including those that are beneficial to the body.

During this process, some bacteria become resistant to antibiotics to enable them to survive the adverse condition thereby reducing the efficacy of antibiotics. Different antibiotics are used for treating serious infections in surgical patients, protecting cancer patients, people with compromised immune systems, and promoting growth and preventing disease in livestock. Moreover, once-treatable infections are becoming difficult to cure due to antibiotic resistance due to over-use or abuse of antibiotics, raising costs to healthcare facilities and patient mortality which seriously affect individuals and society. Many pathogens are resistant to more than one antibiotic, and the new, last-resort antibiotics are expensive and often out of reach for those who need them. Common bacteria in our gut such as Klebsiella and Escherichia coli have developed resistance to even “last resort antibiotics” like carbapenems, which fail to cure serious patients when needed.

While antibiotic resistance was everyone’s problem, keeping antibiotics effectives was everyone's responsibility. It must be used in a responsible manner - by avoiding antibiotics to treat common viral infections such as common cold or flu or diarrhoea, taking antibiotics correctly only after diagnosis of infection and prescription by a qualified medical practitioner, avoiding self-medications, avoiding storing of antibiotics for future use and practicing good hygiene, the release said.

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