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Drug resistance a big challenge: SCH.

LANI ROSE R DIZON

DOHA

THE World Health Day was observed in Qatar on Thursday with a call to find ways to deal with the challenges posed by drug resistance.

This year's World Health Day theme was entitled, 'Antimicrobial resistance: No action today, no cure tomorrow'.

Addressing the Press on the sidelines of a workshop organised by the Supreme Council of Health (SCH), Director of Public Health at the SCH Dr Mohamed bin Hamad al Thani said the phenomenon of drug resistance is becoming more severe and infections are no longer easily curable by the use of antimicrobial drugs.

He said, "This leads to prolonged and expensive treatment and greater risk of death.

We need to remind the people that the inappropriate use of infectionfighting drugs (underuse, overuse or misuse) causes resistance to grow faster.

Patients should only take drugs, especially antibiotics, as prescribed by the doctor.

Taking poor quality antimicrobials or not taking a full course of a prescribed antimicrobial can lead to drug resistance." Antimicrobial resistance, also known as drug resistance, occurs when microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change its ways that render the medications ineffective.

This is a major concern because a resistant infection may kill, and spread to others, besides resulting in huge cost of treatment.

Talking about the drug resistant cases in Qatar, Dr Abdul Latif al Khal, consultant and director of the Medical Education Centre at Hamad Medical Corporation, said, "We are seeing an increase in drug resistance among bacteria causing urine infection.

Some drugs that were orally effective in the past are not effective anymore.

There is an increase in resistance among salmonella and shigella bacteria which cause gastroenteritis.

There is also an increase in resistance among the pneumococcus that causes lung infection.

It is estimated that 35 percent of all pneumococs in the country are resistant to penicillin, the drug which used to be the first choice.

There is also an increase of MRSA which can cause severe skin-borne and blood infections.

About 30 percent of all staphylococcus is MRSA and this can cause significant morbidity and increased chance of mortality in hospitalised patients.

The multi-drug resistant tuberculosis accounts for five percent of cases worldwide which translates every year into 440,000 cases and 150,000 deaths." Manager of Health Promotion and Communicable Diseases at the SCH Dr Mohamed al Hajri said that besides the irrational use of medicines, other factors that drive antimicrobial resistance are weak surveillance and monitoring systems and the lack of research and development on new products.

Al Khal said that Qatar would now adapt a six-point strategy recommended by the World Health Organisation to combat drug resistance.

"This involves a financednational plan, strengthening surveillance and laboratory capacity, ensuring medicines of good quality and regular supply, regulating and promoting rational use of medicines, enhancing infection prevention and control and fostering innovations, research and development." Director of Professional Leadership at the Primary Health Care Dr Khalid al Badr said that greater public awareness must be created to limit the spread of drug resistance in Qatar.

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Publication:Qatar Tribune (Doha, Qatar)
Geographic Code:7QATA
Date:Apr 8, 2011
Words:523
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