A Medical Microbiologist, at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Dr. Olufemi Lawani, on Thursday raised alarm on the increased abuse and misuse of antibiotics by Nigerians.
Lawani said Nigeria is rated second amongst the countries using antibiotics.
The microbiologist stated this in a paper titled: “Antibiotic resistance and the prescription pattern of medical practitioners: The nexus and the implications” which he presented at the Annual General Meeting of the Nigeria Medical Association, Kwara State chapter.
He explained that excessive use of antibiotics promotes resistance, which prevents effective treatment of infections, adding that antibiotic resistance has become a global pandemic.
According to him, some Nigerians use antibiotics indiscriminately, not realising the dangers of such actions.
He observed that antibiotic was a discovery of modern age to combat diseases.
“The pre-antibiotic era was the age before the discovery of antibiotics, where the slightest infection causes hardship and death to people.
“This was described as the apocalyptic era when people die of simple infections.
“In spite of this great feat of modern discovery such as penicillin to combat diseases, situations suggest that overuse of antibiotics leads to resistance,” he said.
Lawani stated that antibiotics are used for opportunistic infections, post-operation infections, and also as prophylaxis, among others.
He stated that the inventor of penicillin, Alexander Fleming, has sadly predicted a future where there will be an abuse of antibiotics, which will lead to resistance.
The expert in medical microbiology warns that civilisation must not regress back into the apocalyptic era, where diseases and infections cause mass deaths.
He warned that a regression back to the apocalyptic era will be an end to modern medicine, adding that preventing antibiotics resistance must be seen as a race against time by everone.
“Some of the problems is the availability of some antibiotics as over-the-counter medication without prescription, poverty, poor adherence and use of sub-standard drugs,” he said.
Lawani pointed out that people have a misconception that antibiotic cures all ailments, while some health workers also prescribe it indiscriminately.
“Regulatory agencies such as NAFDAC are not doing much to regulate this menace,” he said.
He, therefore, called for public engagement in tackling antibiotics abuse.
He added that there should also be a multidisciplinary effort in the engagement, noting that doctors, pharmacists, nurses and regulatory agencies should be involved in the fight against indiscriminate use of antibiotics.
“This will protect patients from toxicity, enhancing prevention and control, surveillance of drug resistance,” he said.