Since the system inflames antimicrobial resistance, the Tanzanian government has frowned against pharmacies and drug dispensing outlets selling antibiotics to patients without a doctor’s prescription.
Improper use of antibiotics, according to Chief Pharmacist Daudi Msasi stands as a threat to public health, calling on stakeholders to help spread education on the proper usage. He noted that the government has already authorized Pharmacy (Prescription Handling and Control) Regulations since June last year in handling antimicrobial resistance.
Mr. Msasi further explained that the respective authorities had started holding accountable pharmacists who go against the laws, as he outlined the penalties in the regulations which included fines, facing a jail term, or closing down their businesses by revoking their licenses, among others.
While he presided over a meeting to discuss the problem ahead of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, Mr. Msasi said, antimicrobial resistance is costly because when diseases are responding to the drugs, it will force the government to look for others which might be expensive”.
The meeting was organized by the Roll Back Antimicrobial Resistance Initiative (RBA Initiative). It is a non-governmental organization with the aim to fight back antimicrobial resistance. It supervises both rural and urban communities as critical players in addressing antimicrobial resistance.
Mr. Msasi lauded the organization for a job well done in Dodoma and Bahi districts, stating that the initiatives ought to be rolled out in the whole region and country at large.
According to him, the regulations governing pharmacies have been approved by the government, as well as other drug dispensing outlets to ensure that they abide by the laws while conducting business. He said these regulations are also focused on safeguarding public health by making sure that all dispensing outlets adhere to the regulations.
The World Antimicrobial Awareness Week is aimed at increasing awareness among the public on antimicrobial resistance and encouraging only the appropriate use of drugs. The chief pharmacist noted that appropriate use of medical drugs includes sticking to only doctor’s prescriptions, where to get them, and the duration of the patient’s medication among others.
“However, people should use antibiotics according to their doctors’ prescriptions and avoid buying such drugs without being recommended by any medical personnel,” he pointed out.
He also explained how antimicrobial resistance varies and is dependent on the drug of choice, mentioning that the nation, for example, was treating malaria with chloroquine. Nevertheless, it developed a 50% resistance rate and had to be stopped. Suphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP), which was also stopped since it was not working as intended, took its place. The Chief Pharmacist added that medications are removed from treating certain diseases when they exhibit a 50% resistance to the drug since patients will no longer respond to it.
According to Thereza Evarist, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government (Po-RALG), antibiotic usage and abuse in humans and farm animals exacerbates antimicrobial resistance.
She stated that a new study demonstrates the evolution of resistance to artemisinin, an antibacterial used in the treatment of malaria, despite the paucity of data in the African region.
She noted that the African region is more severely impacted than any other region of the world by the estimated one in ten medicines that are thought to be substandard or fabricated internationally.
In addition, she urged all parties involved to collaborate in order to ensure that future generations have access to safe, effective antibiotics. This included making investments in infrastructure related to water, sanitation, and hygiene as well as restricting the use of antibiotics in livestock and aquafarming.