What are antibiotics?
Antibiotics are substances that help fight against bacterial infections.
What do they do?
They are medically used widely in the prevention and/or killing of infections.
They can either kill or stop the growth of a bacterial infection and there are many examples such as Penicillin which is one of the most famous examples, others include
What kind of infections do they threat?
• Most sinus infections.
• Strep throat.
• Urinary tract infections.
• Most ear infections (otitis media)
• Nasty bacterial skin infections (impetigo)
There are laws and regulations guiding the use of antibiotics in Nigeria for both humans and animals.
There are many regulatory agencies guiding the use for humans and animals. The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), The pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN),
The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) are some of the agencies with a major regulatory role in Nigeria.
There are also health care policies and laws in place for humans such as:
- National Health Policy
- Standard Treatment Guidelines
- Drugs and Related Products (Registration) Act
- Food and Drugs Act
- Poisons and Pharmacy Act,
- Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act
- The National Drug policy (NDP)
- Health Sector Reform Program (HSRP)
- National Strategic Health Investment Plan
- National Strategic Health Development Plan
- National Policy on Quality Assurance for Medicine and other Health Products (NQAP)
- National Health Care Waste Policy
- Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The laws, policies and regulatory agencies guiding the use of medicine for animals may include
- The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control
- Food and Drugs Act
- Veterinary Council of Nigeria
- Meat Inspection Law (In applicable states)
The Global Issue of Resistance Today
Resistance to antibiotics is a major issue facing the world today especially third world countries. Some of the major contributory factors to this are the inappropriate use of drugs and self-medication. This has made infections like tuberculosis, gonorrhea, pneumonia harder to treat and in certain cases they require longer hospital stays and treatment periods.
WHO has estimated that the issue causes around 45% of the death in Africa and 48% of the death in the world.
In Nigeria, there is a large number of patent medicine vendors (PMVs) that serve as the main source of medication to large number of Nigerians for common but deadly illnesses like malaria. The (PMVs) in question treat majority of Nigerians and they do not have any formal training in medicine or pharmacy and in most cases their professional qualifications are not requested nor verified.
In Nigeria, by law they are required to only give out limited services like over the counter drugs and not prescription drugs and they are also not allowed to carry out major services like giving injections. But it is easy to find (PMVs) that render these services as they are largely unsupervised and unregulated.
Without a doubt the issues of the standard of drugs also comes to question.
One of the issues still facing us concerns the issue of the implementation of the law when looking at the reality of Nigeria as it stands today.
With affordable health care out of the reach of many, it makes people more willing to make use of alternative means with or without full knowledge of the legality or consequences of the matter.
Therefore people need Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and better access to affordable healthcare.
This will also stop the patronizing of roadside drug sellers.
There is also a need for campaigns to create awareness to the masses of not just the provisions of the law but the general options available and the risk they expose themselves to when they self-medicate or visit unauthorized health professionals or use unapproved medical products.
We can also educate then on how to identify real drugs and tell them apart from the counterfeits.
All these things are in line with the WHO 2030 health initiative that covers issues surrounding antimicrobials.
The initiative has a series of suggestions for areas that need strengthening and they include ensuring UHC, ensuring the necessary agencies and councils have the man power to carry out their functions and objects and have the necessary training.
Conclusively in order to properly address the issue of AMR in Nigeria today we need to address the issues preventing the proper implementation of the law.
- virology-education.com. (2019). An analysis of antibiotic consumption in Nigeria and its potential contribution to rising antimicrobial resistance. [online] Available at: http//regist2.virology/-education.com/presentations/2019/2ICREID/28_Egwuenu.pdf [Access 21 Nov. 2019].
- org. (2019). Veterinary Pharmacy and related matters-contribution from Aminu Abdulsalam Yinka- PSNYPG. [online] Available at: https://psnypg.org/news/2018/05/veterinary-pharmacy-and-related-matters-contribution-from-aminu-abdulsalam-yinka/ [Accessed 21 Nov.2019].
- Antimicrobial Use and Resistance in Nigeria SITUATION ANALYSIS AND RECOMMENDATIONS. (2019). Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Environment and Health, pp. 28-82.
- Bloom,G., Merrett,G., Wilkinson, A., Lin, V. and Paulin, S. (2019). Antimicrobial resistance and universal health coverage. [online] Available at: https://gh.bmj.com/content/2/4/e000518 [Accessed 21 Nov. 2019].
Health Ethics and Law Consulting