Out of 47 African countries surveyed by the World Health Organization, only eight gave responses to questions on what they know about the impact on their populations of resistance to drugs that treat infections, and on what they are doing to combat it. Only one of the countries had a national plan to combat antimicrobial resistance. While six of the countries try to monitor resistance to tuberculosis treatment drugs, lack of national coordination compromises efforts to respond to the information gathered. And only two countries of eight countries responding have organized efforts to spread word of the dangers unprescribed or counterfeit treatments can pose.
These are some of the findings in the World Health Organization’s 2015 Worldwide country situation analysis: response to antimicrobial resistance. The report follows WHO’s first look at the worldwide extent of antimicrobial resistance, which found that a “substantial number of countries” lacked capacities to assess the spread of resistant bacteria.
Resistance to antibiotics that treat infections develops naturally, but also is fueled by substandard drugs and inappropriate use of drugs, the current report notes. The result — infections and communicable diseases that were once readily treatable requiring new medicines, combinations of medicines, or defeating any existing treatment — hobbles health systems and endangers public health. All the same, awareness of antimicrobial resistance, including on the part of policy makers, regulatory authorities and pharmacists, remains low across all regions, according to the report.
Read the report here.