Antibiotic resistance is a silent plague in Uganda.
Customers in Uganda who circumvent doctors and seek for antibiotics without a prescription are causing problems for pharmacists.
Antibiotics are useful in treating certain bacterial illnesses, but physicians fear this is leading to antibiotic resistance.
“Only five of the over 25 clients I see daily have prescriptions from clinics and hospitals. “The remainder just ask for certain drugs,” says Sara Birungi, a pharmacist in Kampala’s downtown.
People are self-medicating with these: doxycycline, ciprofloxacin, metronidazole, azithromycin, amoxicillin, tetracycline
The same medicine has helped many patients’ friends, Birungi said. Although it is theoretically prohibited to sell antibiotics without a prescription in Uganda, pharmacists often encounter people requesting the drugs without prescription.
This isn’t limited to the capital. People cannot afford to go to the doctor and then pay for medicine, says Esther Makoka, a pharmacy employee in Mukono, outside Kampala.
The majority of the time I give them medicine without a doctor’s prescription because they don’t have time to visit the clinic and they claim it’s pricey.
Some patients seek antibiotics for stomach problems, she says. According to Abiazz Rwamwiiri, spokeswoman for Uganda’s National Drug Authority, pharmacists know they should not sell pharmaceuticals without a prescription, yet they do it nonetheless.
The regulatory authority oversees drug production, importation, distribution, and licensing in Uganda. In the nation, Rwamwiiri claims, the greatest rate of self-medication.
The federal body also looks at drug resistance. If so, it remembers the medicine. Self-medication, incorrect diagnosis, and treatment may lead to antibiotic resistance, particularly when medications are not universal.
Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections including strep throat, urinary tract infections, and E. coli, but not sinus or ear infections.
Researchers at Makerere University in Kampala constantly monitor drug-resistant diseases by examining patient samples submitted by clinicians.
“Most of the time, physicians give us samples because their treatments aren’t working,” says Dr. Hakim Ssendagire, a drug resistance expert.
Upper respiratory infections, bloodstream infections, urinary tract infections, and wound infections are the most prevalent samples.
“When we test these bugs, we discover that approximately 100% are resistant to septrin, 70% to ceftriaxone, 50% to ampicillin, and 80% to amoxicillin,” he adds.
The most resistant bacteria are hospital acquired.
“We urge the public to avoid self-prescription and to finish the dose once prescribed by a doctor,” Ssendagire said.
Dr. Sabrina Kitaka, a pediatric infectious diseases expert at Makerere University, thinks this is equally risky.
She says that physicians treating serious diseases like meningitis have had to use first- and second-tier medications.
“If you get to the third layer and there’s no reaction, a person can’t be saved,” she explains.
“The actual problem is when a person develops an overwhelming bacterial infection that damages many organs.”
Uganda is one of ten nations in Sub-Saharan Africa implementing an antimicrobial resistance action plan.
Antibiotic misuse may be stopped if the public is made aware of the risks.
Consult a doctor before taking any antibiotics to combat worldwide resistance.