International antibiotic resistance crisis
Better training needed to maintain therapeutic arsenal
- By: Harriet Vickers
Training medical students to use antibiotics prudently and rationally is key to curbing the dangerous spread of antibiotic resistance, says the World Health Organization.
WHO highlighted resistance for World Health Day 2011, as the effectiveness of many drugs—to treat diarrhoea, respiratory infections, malaria, and tuberculosis among others—is being threatened by reckless use. “The emergence and spread of drug resistant pathogens has accelerated. More and more essential medicines are failing. The therapeutic arsenal is shrinking,” said WHO director general, Margaret Chan.
To combat this, WHO has released a six part policy package, of which prescriber training is a big part.
“I would say there is quite some room for improvement [in current teaching],” said Dr Bernardus Ganter, senior adviser on antimicrobial resistance at WHO Regional Office for Europe.
Dr Ganter said students should begin learning about antibiotic use in first year bacteriology or pharmacology classes: “The principle of prudent use of