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Sunday, May 16, 2021

Qatar doctor: Antibiotic overuse spurring new drug-resistant bacteria

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Medicine

Qatar’s main health-care provider is urging residents to avoid overusing antibiotics as new research shows that drug-resistant bacteria has gained a foothold in this country.

This afternoon, Hamad Medical Corp. published a statement that called the emergence of antimicrobial resistance “a major threat to public health across the globe.”

The declaration follows a World Health Organization report published several weeks ago about the threat posed by antimicrobial resistance. That includes antibiotic resistance, which occurs when a bacteria evolves so that common drugs become ineffective in combating infections.

The overuse of antibiotics is widely thought to accelerate the speed at which bacteria adapt to traditional treatments. In a statement, Dr. Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s assistant director-general for health security, said:

“Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill.”

Implications in Qatar

The WHO report documented the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria across the globe, including in Qatar.

Citing research collected as far back as 2007, researchers note that between 27 and 40 percent of E. coli samples – which can cause serious food poisoning – collected in Qatar studies were resistant to fluoroquinolones and third-generation cephalosporins, two drugs commonly used to treat the bacteria.

Similarly, some 13 percent of staphylococcus aureus samples – a bacteria known to cause skin infections and respiratory diseases – were found to be resistant to methicillin, which is a form of penicillin.

The results are not out of line with the prevalence of drug-resistant bacteria elsewhere in Gulf or around the world. Because sample size and survey methodology differs, the number of identified cases of E. coli resistant to those two antibiotics range from 0 to 91 percent in the Eastern Mediterranean region, of which Qatar is a part.

Taking action

HMC’s infectious diseases clinical pharmacist, Dr. Eyad Tawfiq Mohamed Al Madhoun, said physicians prescribing unnecessary antibiotics is one reason behind the growth of drug-resistant bacterias. In a statement, he said:

“Some doctors tend to prescribe antibiotics for patients when it is not necessary. Some
viral infections are self-limiting, so the infected persons only need support therapy but when antibiotics is prescribed in such situation, the bacteria is exposed to the antibiotics and it may adapt to the molecules of the drug thus causing resistance.”

HMC officials could not immediately say whether any new directors had been given to doctors.

But Al Madhoun cautioned patients against improperly using antibiotics by, for example, self-medicating or not taking the prescribed dosage.

And in the past, Qatar officials have temporarily shut down pharmacies for selling antibiotics and other drugs without a prescription.

HMC also suggested residents take precautions to avoid getting sick in the first place and negating the need for an antibiotic prescription by practicing proper personal hygiene, such as hand washing.

Thoughts?

21 COMMENTS

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Turbohampster
Turbohampster
6 years ago

Couldn’t agree more, I really hope they enforce this!

Everytime I go to the Dr’s here they seem to invariably prescribe antibiotics its ridiculous! I think its something to do with insurance paying for the medicine so they try to prescribe everything they can possibly think of!

Anonymous
Anonymous
6 years ago

This is a huge issue. Not only do doctors overprescribe antibiotics, but people self-medicate with the drugs too. There needs to be an awareness campaign to educate people about antibiotics and where they’re supposed to be used, for example informing the public that if you have a viral infection, the antibiotic is useless, as antibiotics can only kill bacteria. Another thing that I know happens is patients, as my mom calls it, like to go ‘shopping’ for medication. They’ll visit one doctor, then go to another and then another and another, with each giving their own medication and recommendations. This is another major issue that seriously needs to be addressed.

Amber
Amber
6 years ago

I agree with last bit of the article. People should avoid getting sick in the first place. I’ve been in this country for 10 years, and I’ve seen the worst hygiene offenders here in this country. People don’t cover their mouth when coughing or sneezing(or if they do cover their mouth they use their freshly sneezed on hands to touch common objects like door knob or mouse), not washing hands is the norm(cant tell you how many people ive seen here walk out the stall and dont even glance the sink or soap).

PlanetCitizen
PlanetCitizen
6 years ago
Reply to  Amber

“People should avoid getting sick in the first place”

I find your comment out of picture here, how do you avoid getting sick? Could you ask a camel to close its mouth when it is sneezing ?!

Chipper fluffypants
Chipper fluffypants
6 years ago

How can one self-medicate if you need a prescription. Very simple, make antibiotics prescription only and stop the doctors from over-medicating.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago

I believe all antibiotics are already scrip only

Jamal Al-Yafei
Jamal Al-Yafei
6 years ago

if they only have a unified database for all patients like any good hospital , they can see your medical record and what kind of prescribtion you took for the past 10 yrs ….. but no , Hamad Hospital is not connected to any other Goverment clinc around … i dont even know how they operate like this till now …… the Health Minister should really move forward with this , its more important than anything on the agenda …..

Anonymous
Anonymous
6 years ago
Reply to  Jamal Al-Yafei

Actually, that’s what the Health Ministry is trying to do at the moment. They want to have a unified database all major hospitals, including Hamad, Al Khor, etc, along with the clinics, would have access to. So yeah, the Ministry does realise its importance 🙂

Jamal Al-Yafei
Jamal Al-Yafei
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

i have been hearing about it for the past 2 years , their management isn’t stable , they swapped 2 infrastructure managers in less than 2 years … hope they succeed this time before 2022 :S

PlanetCitizen
PlanetCitizen
6 years ago

Homeopathy could be an alternate option….

Tarik
Tarik
6 years ago
Reply to  PlanetCitizen

We are discussing real medicine here not psudo scientific jargon called homeopathy. A lot of western countries have banned it. Please don’t confuse homeopathy with Ayurveda. Ayurvedic meds can sometimes do wonders as alternative therapy but not homeopathy.

PlanetCitizen
PlanetCitizen
6 years ago
Reply to  Tarik

Not that I am saying that I am against ayurvedic or any other more of alternative medicines, infact I find essential oils aromatherapy effective than homeopathic at times. I only go for modern medicine if I have no choice and require a heavy treatment, where at the moment I am taking statin for my cholesterol. As far as I am concerned, antibiotics are not the only solution to a problem, there are alternates and at times I do find homeopathic medicines to be effective when the right constitution is found.

Tarik
Tarik
6 years ago
Reply to  PlanetCitizen

Its not real treatment. Homeopathy is a pseudoscience; its remedies have been found to be no more effective than placebo. It lacks biological plausibility and the axioms of homeopathy have been refuted for some time. The postulated mechanisms of action of homeopathic remedies are both scientifically implausible and not physically possible.

All am saying is don’t fall for these fake treatment. I think it’s banned in qatar as well.

PlanetCitizen
PlanetCitizen
6 years ago
Reply to  Tarik

I do not know from your comments on whether you are prejudiced against homeopathy but I have used it and have witnessed positive improvement on certain illnesses. I do not understand your concern here, it is my body, I have full right to use whatever form of medicine I want as long as it is supervised through trained professionals. I am no homeopathy expert but If something does works and brings my health back on track without any serious side effects I am all go for it. It is just horrifying to see on frequent people use antibiotics causing serious side effects on the body and in the long run the body would be immune to its effects. For your information, I will not write out any form of medicine out from my life whether it is modern, traditional or alternative. Using antibiotics is my last resort.

Also it is currently not available in Qatar since it is not regulated, the health authorities are in the process of introducing alternate medicines including homeopathy in the near future, maybe a little longer knowing on how much time the authorities takes to implement the labor laws, the following is the most recent article on its status in Qatar,

http://thepeninsulaqatar.com/news/qatar/230890/new-law-on-alternative-medicine-soon

Homeopathy is already making headways in the U.A.E. for quite some time now,

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/health/more-takers-for-homeopathic-treatment-in-abu-dhabi-1.1330273

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago
Reply to  Tarik

can you list which Western countries have banned it? I know none in Europe which has banned homeopathy, but if you know more please share the info

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago
Reply to  PlanetCitizen

not allowed in this country.

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago
Reply to  PlanetCitizen

yes, anyway I use it, but there is barely in Dubai, don’t see it coming here, mainly when it comes to liquid product, instead of pills.

This has prevented my kid to use antibiotics for the last 3 years, including also other natural remedies that we use.

Darth Space™
Darth Space™
6 years ago

It’s true most doctors prescribe antibiotics, i think it should be prescribed only for extreme cases. There should be an awareness campaign for all doctors.

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago
Reply to  Darth Space™

awareness for all doctors??? The question is what kinda doctors are these if they need an awareness compaign? Oh wait, good doctors don’t come to Doha!

jay.j
jay.j
6 years ago

if one goes to a pharmacy with a flu and headache, they’d give you a standard set of antibiotics and some pain killers. you can go back, and they’d give you the same thing. doctors, well, they too overdo it with antibiotic prescriptions. it’s scary. after coming here, i’ve learnt to care for myself and listen to my body more so i don’t fall sick so as to avoid visiting a hospital or a clinic.

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