Focos Orthopaedic Hospital, a leading non-profit health facility in Ghana, as part of activities to mark the global Antimicrobials Resistance (AMR) awareness week has held a forum in Accra.
The forum, on the theme; ‘Preventing antimicrobial resistance together,’ brought together staff of the hospital and experts within the health sector to discuss collaborative efforts to prevent AMR which had been declared a global health threat by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2014.
AMR occurs when bacteria change and become resistant to the antibiotics used to treat the infections they cause.
When that occurs, a patient would take a longer time to recover despite taking recommended medications.
The forum was also aimed at raising awareness on the condition and the hospital’s efforts to lead the campaign in collaboration with the government to prevent the very serious health threat in the country and beyond.
Speaking at the event, the Chief Executive Officer for FOCOS Hospital, Dr Irene Adorkor Wulff, said the condition was gradually becoming prevalent in the US and other parts of the world including Ghana.
“This calls for immediate response by health professionals to create awareness within the public so as to prevent condition across the country. This is why FOCOS is holding this discussions to launch its quest to collaborate with the government and other stakeholders to prevent AMR in the country,” she stated.
She urged the public to use medications in the best way possible and avoid self-medications in order to prevent the disease.
“AMR is becoming a serious issue and we must all come together to support in this preventive campaign. Here at FOCOS, we have started our campaign and would need all hands on deck to tackle this very crucial health condition,” she stressed.
On his part, Family Physician and Diabetologist, Dr Francis Addai, enumerated some of the causes of AMR including misuse and overuse of antibiotics, unfinished treatment and overuse of antibiotics in animal farming.
He added that, poor infection control in hospitals and clinics, lack of hygiene and poor sanitation and lack of new antibiotics being developed could also be a factor.
“This is a silent public health issue that must be addressed. He said in 2019, bacteria antimicrobial resistance contributed to 2.7 million deaths global.
“It is also projected that AMR will cause 10 million deaths annually by 2050 if the issue is not addressed. AMR is a threat to the operations of health facilities, to patients in terms of cost and it requires urgent attention,” he stressed.
The Head of Reference Lab at the Ghana Health Service, Dr Gifty Boateng, said creating awareness and surveillance as well as research were also important in tackling the issue.
“We also need to strengthen laboratories to release results on time while improving upon monitoring and evaluation at health facilities,” she stated.
She said the government was committed to partnering FOCOS and other stakeholders to curb the canker.
She advised the public to practice personal hygiene including regular washing of hands, handle waste properly and visit health facilities for proper medications when sick.