What is antibiotic resistance?
What is antibiotic resistance?

Today, a plenty of antibiotics are available but a majority are not effective because bacteria have developed resistance towards them. This is a major crisis that is going to hit the health sector globally.  Antibiotics are medicines used to prevent and treat bacterial infections. 

Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in response to the use of these medicines. Bacteria, not humans or animals, become antibiotic-resistant. These bacteria may infect humans and animals, and the infections they cause are harder to treat than those caused by non-resistant bacteria. 

A growing number of infections – such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhoea, and salmonellosis – are becoming harder to treat as the antibiotics used to treat them become less effective. Antibiotic resistance leads to longer hospital stays, higher medical costs and increased mortality.

Where antibiotics can be bought for human or animal use without a prescription, the emergence and spread of resistance is made worse. Similarly, in countries without standard treatment guidelines, antibiotics are often over-prescribed by health workers and veterinarians and over-used by the public. Without urgent action, we are heading for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries can once again kill.

Policy makers should prevent and control the spread of antibiotic resistance. They can: Ensure a robust national action plan to tackle antibiotic resistance is in place; Improve surveillance of antibiotic-resistant infections; and make information available on the impact of antibiotic resistance. 

A political declaration endorsed by Heads of State at the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2016 signalled the world’s commitment to taking a broad, coordinated approach to address the root causes of antimicrobial resistance across multiple sectors, especially human health, animal health and agriculture. World Antibiotic Awareness Week is held every November since 2015 with the theme “Antibiotics: Handle with care.”