Specialist doctors at Goroka General Hospital are saying that many available drugs or medicines in the country are becoming ineffective.
It is a growing concern, which has doctors fearing that sicknesses will be treated in a similar fashion to tuberculosis, with additional medication for drug-resistant strains.
Doctors state that many people in PNG do not go to hospitals for common illnesses such as the colds, headache or body pain. It is a common trend for people to choose to purchase medication from street sellers or directly from pharmacies without seeing a registered health professional and without being given an appropriate diagnosis.
This practice has led to unregulated and inappropriate consumption of first line antibiotics such as amoxicillin, without prior consultation and prescription from general practitioners or a doctor. This then has led to an increase in drug resistance in the community where crucial first line broad spectrum antibiotic drugs utilized for common bacterial infectinos are no longer effective as the bugs have become resistant against the drugs.
And the continuous consumption of antibiotics such as amoxicillin without a doctor’s prescription will become ineffective to one’s body when one falls ill, this can lead to the immune system becoming used to the medication, making it unable to combat the sickness in the body.
Goroka General Hospital Director of Curative Health Services, Dr Kapiro Kendaura also says that taking medication without laboratory testing, is ineffective as you need to know what kind of bacteria of or virus is causing the disease, before you can choose the appropriate medication for treatment. It is important to differentiate viral infections from bacterial, as antibiotics are not used for treating diseases caused by viruses.
Dr Kendaura says children, cancer patients, very ill patients and patients on IV drips are more vulnerable in developing infections such as the now widely-spoken-about Klebsiella Pneumonia, which causes pneumonia and urinary tract infections, even leading to paralysis and eventually death.
People are urged to always visit the hospital for every illness, and are warned against buying and taking medicines without a qualified clinician’s advice.
By Vasinatta Yama, EM TV – Mt Hagen