ANTIBIOTICS: PRESERVE THE MIRACLE?

The placebo effect is well-known in modern medicine. Unfortunately, the most effective medicines we’ve ever discovered are more often used as placebos rather than cures. What are these medicines?

Antibiotics.

They’ve added 20 years to the average human life expectancy, some wouldn’t  call this a “miracle”. In-fact “ preserve the miracle” is the official slogan for Antibiotic Awareness Week. But it’s a word that carries some baggage, after all miracles don’t come with adverse consequences.

Why are antibiotics so important?

  • Because most medical intervention compromise host defences.
  • Intubation acts as a portal for microbes to otherwise protected sites.
  • Surgery temporarily compromises the impermeable barrier for microbes.
  • Chemotherapy and several other treatments are immunosuppressive, increasing the hosts’ likelihood of developing infections.  

These vulnerable patients require antibiotics to survive. We need these antibiotics to keep these medical interventions viable. The fight against antimicrobial resistance has become the battle to keep modern medicine alive. Modern medicine’s centerpiece is the tertiary hospital, which is a testament to our ability to extend life. It’s also the place where the most vulnerable patients cluster. In this setting, high risk patients are in close proximity to one another. These patients rely on medicines selecting for resistant organisms. Both these factors increase the chances of outbreaks caused by resistant organisms, and makes the hospital a dangerous environment.

Antibiotic resistance is a major issue that threatens all of us, from patients to practitioners. We’re all in this together, pointing the finger is no longer productive. We all want the same outcomes: to protect the health of our immediate patients, to protect the health of future patients and to ensure modern medicine has a sustainable future. To this end, it’s time we began a dialogue to achieve meaningful change.

For futher reading, see what WHO says

REFERENCE: LIFTL MEDICAL BLOG.

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Cynthia Isuekebhor