Dili (Timor Leste): The government may shortly issue restrictions on prescription and sale of commonly-used antibiotics in a bid to avoid development of drug resistance to infectious diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, urinary tract infection (UTI) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
If this measure is implemented, doctors and chemists will have to follow certain mandatory protocols and guidelines when they prescribe antibiotics. Even chemists will have to maintain records of all kinds of antibiotics that they procure and sell along with the doctor’s prescription.
This is a move which has been implemented or is in the process of implementation, by all member countries of World Health Organisation (WHO) in a bid to fight drug-resistant diseases.
WHO will monitor the implementation of the strategy at its current South East Asia Regional Committee meeting in Timor Leste. However, India has a big lead of the May 2017 deadline set up at the World Health Assembly meeting of WHO in Geneva in May, officials said. According to the resolution passed at the Assembly, the countries need to frame plans by May 2017 and align them with WHO’s global strategy.
Tuberculosis has plagued humans for thousands of years and continues to do so. In advance of this year’s World TB Day, March 24, the World Health Organization is issuing a call to action to eradicate the disease by 2030.
As part of these efforts, the WHO is launching an oral drug regimen it says can more effectively treat people with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.
TB remains the world’s deadliest infectious disease, killing nearly 4,500 people a day and infecting 10 million people a year.
Despite the grim statistics, much progress has been made in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of the disease. The WHO says 54 million lives have been saved since 2000. But the WHO also warns the gains risk being lost with the emergence of multidrug-resistant TB or MDR-TB.
The current treatment for MDR-TB involves a two-year treatment course of painful injections, which provoke many bad side effects.
The WHO says it is hopeful the new oral treatment program it is launching will be more effective in controlling the spread of the particularly virulent form of tuberculosis.
The director of the WHO’s Global TB Program, Tereza Kasaeva, told VOA the new oral drug treatment the WHO is recommending has far fewer adverse side effects.
“Of course, it will be definitely much, much easier and there will not be a need for regular frequent visits of the physicians or health workers for making these injections. No doubt, as we see from the data, the effectiveness, the treatment success will be definitely much, much higher,” Kasaeva said.
The South African government has announced it plans to adopt the injection-free treatment. Kasaeva said the cost of the oral treatment is around $2,000, which is largely unaffordable for low-income countries.