‘Antimicrobial resistance is a ticking time bomb for Uganda’ , Ministry of Health PS Dr Atwine reveals

The Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Health Dr Diana Atwine has asked Pharmacists in Uganda to join the fight against the problem of Antimicrobial Resistance that is escalating across the Uganda.

Speaking during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Pharmacy House in Kireka on Thursday, Dr Atwine said the practice of Uganda’s pharmacists is lacking which has led to people taking drugs without following the prescriptions from doctors thus breeding the problem of Antimicrobial Resistance.

“I know our practice has got challenges and partly the problem we are grappling with of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in this country. Of course, it’s all over the world but we can do something and I do believe that Pharmacists in this country can turn around this problem because AMR is a time bomb in this country,” Dr Atwine said.

Antimicrobial Resistance is a situation that occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.

However, Dr Atwine noted that it can be solved if the pharmacists in Uganda work together and avoid absence from work.

“Most Pharmacists work in government and at the same time in private health facilities and most of the time they are not there to guide, people just come and order medicine from the off counter. When are we going to stop this? This is in hands of Pharmacists. I have seen very many prescriptions that are deadly but because the guiders are not there, people just take medicine. If we pharmacists are always available such things would not be in place by this time.”

She added that having active Pharmacists will help massively the country by identifying fake clinics operating and even unqualified medical officers.

“Because if you are available you will be able to detect fake and dangerous prescriptions and you will notify us about such clinics. So Pharmacists we are calling upon you to come and take the lead to change the practice at the Pharmacy level. But also this thing of one Pharmacist covering over 3 to 5 pharmacies has to be reviewed because you end up not doing your job since you are always up and down.”

Dr Atwine also noted there is an increased misuse of antibiotics which Pharmacists can also stop because it’s alarming.

However, Dr Pamela Achii, the President Pharmaceutical Society of Uganda revealed that AMR is a very big problem which cannot only be fought by Pharmacists but it must be a collective responsibility.

“This war of AMR is for a whole community you and me. How? By following the doctors’ prescriptions if you are told to take medicines for five days make sure you do that because if you don’t you are bound to get AMR.”

She added, “We also urge the public not always to rush getting anti-biotics in case of any simple diseases such cough because if you expose your body to many anti-biotics you will get AMR and in the future, you will not have alternative medicine to even treat basic conditions and then people will start dying of this simple sickness, therefore, we must safeguard our community but it must be a collocative responsibility.”

Meanwhile, the phase two groundbreaking of the Pharmacy House is going to consume over Shs5.8bn and is expected to be done in the next five years. The four-storied building will be housing drugs, a research and innovation laboratory centre which will be used as a centre for Pharmaceutical research, innovation in health products and discovery of new drugs and molecules and also quality control.

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