“Antibiotics not toffees, don’t take them at will,” Ghanaians told 

By Samira Larbie 

Accra, July 10, GNA-Dr George Amofa, the Former President of Ghana Public Health Association (GPHA), has urged Ghanaians to stop taking antibiotics without a prescription. 

“Do not take these antibiotics at will, they are not toffees nor popcorn,” he said. 

Dr Amofa, also the Former Deputy Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, made the call at a training for community pharmacists on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), organised by the Adabraka Polyclinic, in Accra. 

The training sought to make the pharmacists act as AMR stewards to educate and create awareness of the threats of AMR for social behavioural change. 

He said antimicrobials or antibiotics were special drugs meant for special purposes, but many organisms were becoming resistant to them, adding that the few ones left must be protected. 

The project was sponsored by the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association and championed in Ghana by the GPHA.  

He said research had shown that one of the commonest ways of developing resistance was the inappropriate use of antibiotics by the public.  

“Any abdominal upset antibiotics, any cold or cough antibiotics, you can pump in all the antibiotics you want but if it is a viral infection, it will not work, and you will end up creating problems for yourself. 

Apart from wasting money and effort, you will be creating resistance later when you need it,” he added. 

Dr Amofa said: “This is the essence of taking antibiotics at will, but it should be done under prescription and by a qualified prescriber under specific instruction.” 

He urged community pharmacists to make whatever they have learnt affect mental attitudes and not to complicate patients’ illnesses by inappropriately prescribing antibiotics. 

Antibiotic resistance is the ability of microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi etc) to become resistant to the drugs used to treat the infections they cause. 

This makes it difficult to treat infections, increases the risk of disease spread, and severity of illness and increases mortality. 

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), AMR is among the top five threats to global health including Air pollution, climate change, Noncommunicable Diseases, global influenza pandemic and fragile/vulnerable settings. 

Dr Abdul Razak Quao, the Medical Superintendent of Adabraka Polyclinic said the training was crucial as research indicates that about 84 per cent of people visit the pharmacy as their first point of call when they are sick. 

Dr Quao, also the Antimicrobial Resistant and Antimicrobial Resistance Stewardship Chairperson, said there were growing concerns about AMR threats in Ghana and the world at large and as such the training formed part of the Adabraka Polyclinic’s action plan coined from the National Action Plan to tackle AMR in the country. 

He urged community pharmacists to work as stewards in their various pharmacies and pass on the knowledge acquired to other colleagues to help reduce AMR in the country. 

“Strive to always do the right things in dispensing and learn to say no to clients when necessary and not always think of making profits to reduce the threats of AMR,” he added. 

Dr Quao called on the public to avoid self-medication, complete their antibiotic treatment, practice infection prevention and control, take antimicrobials only when prescribed by a doctor, and keep their vaccinations up to date.  

The pharmacists were educated on what to do as AMR stewards, their role in curbing AMR, infection prevention and control, hygiene etiquettes, and environmental cleanliness among others to reduce micro-organisms that come in contact with clients, which eventually make them abuse the use of antibiotics.