WHO condemns the abuse of antibiotics

WHO condemns the abuse of antibiotics

World Health Organization (WHO) warned Monday about dangerous growth in antibiotic consumption in some countries and low consumption in other regions – AFP / Archives

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Monday of a dangerous increase in antibiotic use in some countries, as well as low consumption in other areas, which could lead to deadly "superbugs".

The WHO report, based on the 2015 data collected in 65 countries and regions, shows a significant difference in consumption, ranging from 4 daily doses (DDD) per 1000 inhabitants per day in Burundi to more than 64 in Mongolia.

"These differences suggest that some countries are likely to consume too many antibiotics, while others may not have sufficient access to these drugs," the WHO said in a statement.

Discovered in 1920, antibiotics saved tens of millions of lives by effectively fighting bacterial diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and meningitis.

However, over the years, bacteria have been engineered to withstand such drugs.

The WHO has warned on many occasions that the number of effective antibiotics is declining in the world.

Last year, the UN agency called on states and large pharmaceutical groups to create a new generation of drugs capable of fighting ultra-resistant "superbugs."

"Excessive consumption and inadequate use of antibiotics are the main causes of antimicrobial resistance," said Suzanne Hill, WHO Director of Basic Medicines and Health Products.

"Without effective antibiotics and other antimicrobials, we lose our ability to treat infections as widespread as pneumonia," he warned.

Bacteria can become resistant when patients use antibiotics they do not need, or when they do not complete treatment. Bacteria are therefore better able to survive and develop immunity.

WHO is also concerned about the low consumption of antibiotics.

"Resistance can develop when patients can not afford full treatment or only have access to inferior or altered drugs," the report said.

In Europe, the average consumption of antibiotics is approximately 18 DDD per 1 000 inhabitants per day. Turkey leads the list (38 DDD), about five times more than the last one in Azerbaijan (8 DDD).

The WHO recognizes that its report is incomplete because it includes only four countries in Africa, three in the Middle East and six in the Asia Pacific region. A large absence of this study is the United States, China and India.

Since 2016, WHO has helped 57 low- and middle-income countries to collect data to create a model system for monitoring the use of antibiotics.

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