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WHO finds major differences in antibiotic use between countries

A new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) published Monday reveals major differences in the amount of antibiotics consumed…

A new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) published Monday reveals major differences in the amount of antibiotics consumed by countries around the world and requires changes in how countries monitor and use antimicrobial drugs.

“Overuse and abuse of antibiotics are the main causes of antimicrobial resistance. Without effective antibiotics and other antimicrobials, we will lose our ability to treat common infections like pneumonia,” said Suzanne Hill, Head of the Department of Essential Medicines and Health Products at WHO.

The report, which showed data from antibiotics use from 65 countries in terms of the daily daily dose (DDD) per 1,000 inhabitants per day, found a nearly 1

5-fold difference in antibiotic consumption between the highest and lowest consumption.

Antibiotic consumption ranged from just 4.44 DDD / 1000 inhabitants per day in Burundi to 64.41 DDD / 1000 people in Mongolia while high income countries like Canada (17.05 DDD / 1000 people) and South Korea (27.68 DDD / 1000 people) fell between the two extremes.

“The big difference in antibiotic use worldwide suggests that some countries are likely to overuse antibiotics while other countries may not have sufficient access to these life-saving drugs,” says WHO.

Even in the European region, where the WHO says that the median rate of antibiotic consumption was 17.9 DDD / 1000 people a day, the report found a fourfold difference between the high and low rate of antibiotic consumption.

Coming forward, WHO says it is important for countries to set up national antibiotics surveillance systems and implement policies to ensure that antibiotics are used appropriately.

The report also found different levels of consumption among different types of antibiotics. While antibiotics such as amoxicillin and amoxicillin / clavulanic acid, which the WHO recommends for treatment with the first or second line of many common infections, were the most common worldwide antibiotics that are the widest spectrum, which WHO says should be used more efficiently, accounted for as much as 50% of antibiotics which is used in some countries.

However, the report also found that many low and middle income countries not reported with antibiotics as the WHO says should be reserved as the last option for specific infections or multidrug resistant bacteria.

“It may indicate that some countries may not have access to these drugs that are necessary for the treatment of complicated multiple-vein resistant infections,” says WHO. However, countries like Italy and Spain reported that they usually use antibiotics more often than others in the report.

While the report shows how antibiotics are used worldwide, WHO states that national efforts to collect data on antibiotic consumption have led to some countries, including Bangladesh and Côte d’Ivoire, changing how they monitor or manage their antibiotic products.

“The process of conducting national surveillance of antimicrobial consumption has led the countries to review national regulations, procurement and supply chains of medicines as a starting point for strengthening the overall drug system,” writes WHO.

WHO, report

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