The Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) project is being implemented by Ghana Coalition of Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Health through NGOs in the Northern, Central and Western region of Ghana. The purpose of involving CSOs in Antibiotic Resistance is to ensure effective community awareness and rational use of antibiotics to prevent and control the implication of irrational use of antibiotics. This report covers details of training CSOs in Ghana.
Venue: Windy Bay Lodge in Winneba, Central Region; Date : 15th of July 2014.
The objective of the training workshop was to:
The workshop was facilitated by Representatives from MoH and Mrs. Cecilia Senoo, the Executive Director of Hope for Future Generations (HFFG) who doubles up as the National Vice President of the Coalition of NGOs in Health, Ghana. She gave the welcome address and a brief presentation on the workshop. In her delivery, she urged all participants to make it a point to step down the training to the community people.
The various facilitators took over and gave the goal for the workshop which was to build the capacity of CSOs in antibiotic resistance and the responsible use of antibiotics at the community level.
Participants were later introduced to microbes. Microbes are very tiny creatures which can only be seen with the use of microscopes. They live everywhere. They can be found in the human body, on the floor, bags, doors etc. Microbes can be grouped and this are as follows:
They are drugs that are meant for the treatment of bacteria and other related infections. Antibiotic refers to compound or chemicals that kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria by disrupting one or more of their essential cellular functions. Antibiotics are also synthetic or natural compound.
Antibiotics can be grouped broadly into two based on their range of activity. These are:
1. Narrow Spectrum
2. Broad Spectrum
Narrow spectrum type of antibiotics are those that destroy a specific type of bacteria. Broad spectrum on the other hand are those type of antibiotics that destroy more than one type of bacteria.
Participants were introduced to some terms and definition (contrast and similarities) which are in relation to antibiotics. Among these are:
Antiseptic is anything that is applied on human body to kill germs. An example is Dettol antiseptic.
Antimicrobial is anything or a drug that is used destroy microbes. They may be classified as antifungal, antibiotics, antiviral, etc.
Disinfectants are anti-germs that are applied especially on nonliving substances such as tables, toilets, floors, bathroom etc.
Participants were given a short exercise. In this exercise, participants were given a group of drugs to classify them under antiseptic, antimicrobial and disinfectants. Among the drugs given were DDT, Dettol, polio vaccine, amoxicillin, collodium, penicillin, capsule, ACT and chloroquine. (NB: these were examples given by respondents during the KAPB survey on CSOs)
Antibiotics have so many uses. They can be used to treat susceptible infections caused by bacteria. They are used in serious conditions as
• Wound infections.
• Urinary Tract infections (UTI) example gonorrhea, syphilis, etc.
It is good to know that all the above diseases require the use of antibiotics for treatment. The choice of antibiotics for the treatment depends on the type of infection and the bacteria responsible.
On the other hand, antibiotics are not used in the treatment of viral infections such as flu, colds, bronchitis, most coughs, most sore throats, most ear aches, and some diarrhoeal diseases.
It is always good to purchase your antibiotics at licensed premises using a valid prescription from an authorised prescriber.
Participants were also taken through the some of the common ways by which antibiotics are abused.
Self-medication, though allowed was discouraged when it comes to the use of antibiotics due to the potential misuse and abuse of antibiotics. Below are some of the habits practiced by people which is not good and must be discouraged.
1. Use of left over antibiotics.
2. Sharing antibiotics with other people.
3. Using antibiotics in open sores.
4. Use of antibiotics in herbal concoctions.
5. For viral cold and flu treatment
6. Nonadherence to given directions on antibiotic medication.
7. Use of antibiotics when not needed.
8. Taking antibiotics for prevention purposes
9. Using antibiotics for treating candida
10. Antibiotic use in animal feed
Antibiotics are generally safe when used responsibly. Improper use of antibiotics can result in skin rashes, allergies, diarrhea etc. Based on the information above, the facilitators urged participants to make it a point to stop abusing antibiotics in order to avoid these problems. The facilitators took time to explain the reasons why antibiotics should not be abused as listed above.
Some precautions or safety measures need to be taken into consideration when taking antibiotics especially pregnant women and lactating mothers. This is because some antibiotics can cause discolouration of the teeth of infants which might never become white again in the life of the individual. It can also cause damage to the developing liver of the unborn baby. Pregnant women and lactating mothers should always consult a medical doctor before using antibiotics.
Antibiotic resistance is the ability of bacteria to resist or avoid the harmful effects of an antibiotic. The bacteria continues to grow in the presence of the antibiotic. Antibiotic resistance is a natural phenomenon with bacteria. It can be said to be a “survival mechanism or the survival of the fittest” for bacteria. The bacteria in the body no longer respond to the antibiotic; it is said to be resistant to the antibiotic to which it used to be susceptible.
Resistance to antibiotics can be prevented in so many ways. Some of these include:
1. Engaging in responsible use of antibiotics. This means that antibiotics should only be used when necessary and should not be used for the treatment of viral infections. Antibiotics should not be saved for use when next you get sick but rather, we should all make it a point to take antibiotics as directed by the health worker or the prescriber.
2. Using preventive measures such as vaccination against bacterial and viral infections. An example is 5 in 1 vaccination for children.
3. We should all make it a point to practice personal hygiene. Simple hand washing is a good way of preventing infections.
4. Practicing safe sex can also go a long way to prevent sexually transmitted infection and thereby reduce the risk of infection and the need for antibiotics in the first place.
Furthermore, many of the problems leading to antibiotic resistance are also due to misinformation, myths and irresponsible use. It is good to note that human beings do not become resistant to antibiotics but rather it is the bacteria that becomes resistant. Antibiotics are not magic bullets for the treatment of all ailments but to specific ailments. Combining several antibiotics as a ‘cocktail’ for treatment is not advised. We should limit ourselves to the antibiotics which are prescribed for us by health workers. Antibiotics should not be combined with herbal preparations since this could pose a serious threat to our health.