Journalists Get Highlights on Antimicrobial Resistance in Ethiopia

Drug Administration and Control Authority of Ethiopia (DACA) and MSH-SPS (Strengthening Pharmaceutical System) have organised a two-days training in Addis Ababa on antimicrobial resistance for media professionals gathered from public and private media organisations.

Senior officials from DACA and MSH-SPS have attended the opening of the training which was held from January 16 to 17, 2010 at the MSH-SPS headquarter around the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.

Opening the training, DACA’s Director General, Yehuludenekew Alamneh said the training was important for the media that would play an important role in combating challenges of healthcare, some of which can seriously affect the socioeconomic, cultural and political activities of the country.

The Director General urged the media to advocate rational use of medicines through various channels of communication as much as possible. Media contributes more in raising public awareness towards proper use of medicines prescribed by health officials.

"The patient must be able to follow each of the instructions given by medical professionals so that they can get relief from their pain," he said. "Otherwise, they would not be cured and contribute their share in growth and development," he added.

Yehuludenekew said his institution, in association with a good number of stakeholders, has been working on various programs to raise awareness among the public on rational use of drugs, which can be harmful if patients use them irresponsibly.

The need to have appropriate use of medicines seem to be unnoticeable as challenges such as the use and marketing of illegal drugs are growing being intensified by the development of technology, growth and development, he said.

To tackle this, the General Director underscored, "the media has a big role both in educating the public and revealing some of the wrongdoings in the sector."

"We are highly encouraged by your presence here and full of confident that you would get better information on the issue so that we can work together and achieve our common goals in protecting public health," the director stressed.

MSH-SPS Ethiopia chief of party Dr. Negussu Mekonnen also said on his part that the inappropriate use of medicines is becoming widespread and continue to be the major challenge in public health.

"We have seen that many people are benefiting from the various antibiotics. However, these items of relief become sources of another problem due to irresponsible handling," Dr. Negussu said, reminding the trainees the increase in drug resistance and step-by-step lose of medicines’ healing power.

Some of the products of antibiotics that have already developed resistance include tetracycline, methicillin and drugs that are widely used to treat tuberculosis, according to him.

"Now the concern is not to prove the existence of the problem, but it is to find out ways of joining hands from the various stakeholders including the media," he stressed.

Dr. Negussu underlined the need to take immediate actions before the problem affects the limited types of drugs distributed among persons living with HIV/AIDS. The media bears greater responsibility in educating the public about the proper use of those medicines and discouraging irrational drug prescriptions, he added.

The training was expected to discuss challenging issues in the sector, share experiences and forward constructive ideas and recommendations for further collaboration to address identified problems.

According to recent national survey antimicrobials resistance is becoming a major concern in Ethiopia.

As many of the studies suggest responsibilities for the increase of drug resistance have been attributed to various issues including inappropriate drug prescription, dispensation and use by many health professionals and patients.

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