SA hospitals face worrying rise in drug-resistant bacteria

“Researchers at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) have highlighted a significant increase in certain antibiotic-resistant bacteria in several public and private hospitals across the country, as well as a dramatic increase in the use of so-called ‘last resort’ antibiotics in public hospitals over the last five years,” reported Daily Maverick (6 January 2022).
According to the study, published in The Lancet, the increased procurement of such drugs shows that doctors are increasingly reliant on “reserve” antibiotics.
“But even some of these last-line-of-defence medicines are losing their ability to fight bacterial infections due to misuse, overuse and other factors. Researchers cautioned that the significant increase in the procurement and use of reserve antibiotics reveals that the drugs available to clinicians are becoming less effective at treating infections.
“Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the 21st century’s greatest threats to health,” said the World Health Organisation (WHO) South-East Asia regional director, Dr Poonam Khetrapal. Across the world, AMR already kills an estimated 700 000 people each year and the projected death toll for 2050 - unless urgent action is taken - is10-m annually at a cost of $10-trillion.”

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