The Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital is attributing the surging cases of antimicrobial resistance development and spread to the use of antibiotics in pig and poultry farms.
Head of the Medical Directorate at KATH, Professor Kofi Opoku Baafuor, says the poor disposal of waste from the farms contributes to pollution, resulting in antimicrobial resistance.
The Hospital has established stewardship committees and directorates to ensure the rational use of antibiotics by clinicians and patients.
Antimicrobial Resistance occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time, and no longer respond to medicines making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread.
The Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital has been fingered as a major contributor to emerging anti-microbial resistance in residents of neighboring communities.
Research conducted by scientists at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology revealed the Subin River was contaminated with waste from the Hospital.
Management of the Hospital has however refuted the allegation.
Medical Director, Prof Kofi Opoku Bafour, says the hospital may not be the only source of traces of antibiotics found in sewage systems and water bodies in its adjoining vicinities.
“Let’s not forget that poultry farmers and herbalists use antibiotics in their activities. Nobody knows how they dispose of their wastes.
“All of these contribute to pollution resulting in anti-microbial resistance.
“Misdiagnose and inadequate protection during antibiotic handling in the farms increases the risk of antibiotic resistant development and spread.
“The factors affecting antimicrobial resistance development and spread are ripe in pig farms in the Ashanti region.
“The appropriate education and veterinary intervention are needed to prevent resistant bacteria from becoming endemic in these communities.
“This discovery confounds the risk of anti-microbial resistant development especially for antibiotics which are used in human beings,” he said.
Anti-microbial Resistance (AMR) has, over a few decades now, been a major health crisis facing human health in low and middle-income countries.
Reports suggest an estimated 4 million people in Africa die annually as a result of Antimicrobial Resistance.
Scientists forecast an exponential increase in the number to 10 million by 2050 if appropriate measures are not taken to circumvent drug misuse.
Professor Kofi Opoku Baafuor, at a workshop disclosed the management saw the need to establish stewardship committees and directorates to oversee strategies in reducing anti-microbial resistance in the country.
The initiative is in alignment with the national agenda of alleviating anti-microbial resistance.
Antimicrobial stewardship is a coordinated program that seeks to promote the appropriate use of antimicrobials including antibiotics, to improve patient outcomes, to reduce microbial resistance, and to also decrease the spread of infections caused by multidrug-resistant organisms.
Members of the committees at the hospital are equipped with skills essential for supervising both clinical and non-clinical staff to properly use and manage antibiotics at the hospital.
“The hospital has deemed it necessary to be part of the national agenda to reduce anti-microbial resistance in the country.
“We’ve met here today to inaugurate the committees that have been charged with ensuring anti-microbial resistance are reduced.
“Antimicrobial Stewardship programmes can help clinicians improve clinical outcomes and minimize harms by improving antimicrobial prescribing.
“These stewardship programmes can increase infection cure rate while reducing treatment figures, adverse effects, antibiotic resistance, and clostridium difficile infections.
“The committees would ensure the rational use of antibiotics in our hospital, especially by the clinicians,” he said.