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Bacteria now resistant to second line antibiotics-study

FILE PHOTO: Antibiotics drugs

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Bacteria have increasingly become resistant to second-line antibiotic drugs; Meropenem and Imipenem, the recommended treatment for all serious infections.

The drugs are administered as intravenous injections to treat infections of the heart lining and valves, meningitis, respiratory tract, including pneumonia, urinary tract, abdominal infections, as well as gynecological, blood, skin, bone, and joint infections. The drug Meropenem works by stopping the growth of bacteria.

In the recent past, doctors continually reported that bacteria were resistant to first-line antibiotics.  Records at the Ministry of Health indicate that Uganda is facing up to 80 percent antibiotic resistance in commonly used antibiotics like Septrin, Ampicillin, Amoxicillin, and Cefotaxime.

However, the latest study carried out by the Uganda National Antimicrobial Resistance Task Force has indicated resistance to the drug which is considered the last resort option for patients in intensive care.

Dr Henry Kajumbula, a microbiologist at Makerere University School of Public Health and chairman of the Uganda National Antimicrobial Resistance Task Force says that up to 23 percent of body organisms are resisting the second line antibiotics, a situation that spells doom for patients, in the absence of an alternative.

Dr Kajumbula attributes the resistance to the drug to poor clinical practices by doctors.

Antibiotic resistance has also been attributed to self-medication on the part of patients.

Studies carried out by the department of medical microbiology at the School of Biomedical Sciences at Makerere university show that most of the common antibiotics are no longer effective in treating illnesses in at least 21 percent of the people living in Kampala.

The World Health Organization estimates that by 2050, at least four million people will die annually on the African continent, due to antibiotic resistance.

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