By: Lunga Memela (Communication Engagement Lead)
We've all had to rely on medicinal drugs (antimicrobials) to feel better and recover from various health conditions. It is great to recover, but what if you cannot heal due to your body growing resistant to the very drugs meant to help you? Antimicrobials range from antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals and antiparasites.
In his opening message, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Ghebreyesus put things into context saying, "Antimicrobial resistance is one of the greatest health threats humanity faces today. It occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and antimicrobial medicines are no longer effective against them. Anyone, anyone, at any age can get a drug-resistant infection. This could mean longer treatment, hospital stays, higher health costs, lifelong disability, or even death."
He continued: "Antimicrobials including antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals and antiparasites are the backbone of modern medicine. They allow us to treat deadly infections successfully and make essential health services safer for everyone. However, the overuse and misuse of antimicrobials are the main drivers of drug-resistant pathogens. World Antimicrobial Awareness Week is an opportunity to draw attention to this urgent global challenge.
"We need as many people as possible to spread awareness to stop resistance. By practicing responsible use of antimicrobials and by following the advice of your health care providers, you can help preserve antimicrobials and prevent drug resistance. Help us spread awareness and play your part in our shared responsibility to keep these drugs working for everyone, everywhere. We are all in this together."
Spread the message:
What is antimicrobial resistance?
Antimicrobial resistance occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites that cause diseases stop responding to medicines. This makes infections harder to treat, increasing the risk of severe illness and even death. The correct use of antimicrobial drugs helps preserve the effectiveness of vital medical treatments.
Why is antimicrobial resistance increasing?
Overuse and misuse of antimicrobials is increasing drug resistance worldwide. Keep medicines working! How?: Don't share or use leftover antimicrobial medicines as this can cause resistance, and take your prescribed treatment in full, even after you start to feel better.
How can YOU prevent antimicrobial resistance?
People with chronic conditions suffer from a weaker immune system. This means that they are at higher risk of being infected with COVID-19 and other opportunistic diseases and, if this happens, they are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill.
People with chronic conditions who are not on treatment or who are not adhering to their treatment are also at greater risk of contracting the virus. For this reason, all such patients should ensure that their condition is well managed and that they adhere to their treatment. This is where HST comes in and supports the Department of Health with CCMDD (Central Chronic Medicine Dispensing and Distribution), or 'Get Checked. Go Collect', a free and convenient service, which allows you to collect your government-issued medication for free at convenient collection points.
The Get Checked. Go Collect website confirms: "Millions of South Africans have chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or HIV. The best way to manage a chronic condition is by staying on your medication. To make access to your medicine supplies easier, you can register for the free and convenient service, CCMDD, which allows you to collect your government-issued medication for free at convenient collection points."
The CCMDD service is even more useful to reduce the spread of COVID-19, as it is important to avoid places where many people gather, especially as we approach the festive season.
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