Antibiotics, one of the most important discoveries of the 20th century, are indispensable drugs in the treatment of bacterial infections. Although in the first years of their discovery, these drugs created the joy that the war against bacteria had been won in favour of humanity, this joy was short-lived, and antibiotic resistance in bacteria has become one of the most important health problems of our age. When a bacterium becomes resistant to an antibiotic, it means that that antibiotic can no longer be used in the treatment of infections caused by that bacterium.
Today, approximately 700 thousand people die annually due to resistant bacteria. Bacteria that are resistant to all existing antibiotics, especially in nosocomial infections, cause a major problem that threatens human health. A report published in the UK in 2016 emphasises that the most common cause of death in 2050 will be resistant bacterial infections. At the same time, this problem causes serious economic losses.
The most important reason for the development of antibiotic resistance is inappropriate use.
The use of antibiotics with a broader spectrum than necessary, inadequate or excessive duration, plays an important role in the induction and spread of resistance in bacteria. Unfortunately, inappropriate antibiotic use is very common in our country. It is known that at least 3 out of every 10 prescriptions in our country contain antibiotics and unfortunately, Turkey has the highest per capita antibiotic consumption among OECD countries. As a result of this negativity, we are among the countries in the world that have the most intense antibiotic resistance problem in bacteria both in hospitals and in the community. Inappropriate antibiotic use especially in upper respiratory tract infections is among our most important problems. The use of antibiotics in veterinary medicine and food industry also contributes negatively to resistance.
Every year, the week of 18-24 November all over the world is commemorated as "Antibiotic Awareness Week" and the importance of appropriate use to prevent antibiotic resistance is tried to be highlighted. This year, the theme determined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) is "raise awareness, stop resistance". In our age, where human mobility has reached the maximum with changing and developing opportunities, it is necessary for all countries of the world to act together to prevent antibiotic resistance and to make arrangements to increase compliance with the measures determined within the framework of WHO's global action plan to prevent antimicrobial resistance.
In order to reduce antibiotic resistance, which is one of the most important health problems of the whole world, we should be aware of our individual responsibility as physicians. In all public and private healthcare institutions providing primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare services, it is very important that all healthcare personnel are sensitive about the rational and appropriate use of antibiotics and volunteer to increase the awareness and knowledge of patients and society on this issue.
Let us not forget. Developing new antibiotics is not a solution. Because sustaining its existence in the universe is the biggest battle of every living thing and this fact does not change for bacteria. Potential resistance to each new antibiotic will always exist. Therefore, rational and appropriate use is the only solution
Let's be aware! Let's stop the resistance together