A Medical Laboratory Scientist, Mrs Ruth Kuju, wants Nigerians to maintain top hygienic practices to guard against bacterial infections that force people to use antibiotics regularly.
Kuju gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Abuja, on the sidelines of the 55th Annual Scientific Conference and Workshop of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), which ended on Friday.
The theme of the conference was “Global Health Security: The Medical Laboratory Agenda for Sub-Saharan Africa”.
NAN reports that antibiotic resistance is when bacteria develop the ability to survive exposure to antibiotics designed to kill them or stop their growth.
The medical laboratory scientist said that certain actions may accelerate the emergence and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
“Using or misusing antibiotics, poor infection prevention and control practices, living or working in unsanitary conditions; as well as mishandling food.
“To protect yourself from harmful bacteria, wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
“Healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating a proper diet, proper food handling, getting enough exercise and establishing good sleeping patterns, can also minimise the risk of illness,” she advised.
According to her, it is safe to use antibiotics only on prescription; and to complete the full treatment course, even if one feels better.
“Never share antibiotics with others and never use leftover prescriptions,’’ she said.
She noted that antibiotic resistant bacteria could grow freely, multiply and cause infection within the host even when exposed to antibiotics.
According to Kuju, this significantly affects an individual’s ability to prevent and treat diseases, increasing recovery time, increasing risk of disability and even death.
She said to understand the mechanisms by which humans become resistant to antibiotics was a key task in preventing the development and spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
She explained that antibiotics were meant to destroy the bacterial cell wall; and often inhibit the generation of energy from glucose.
The medical laboratory scientist said that these mechanisms were also important in preventing resistance to any new antibacterial treatments that might be produced in the future.
Kuju noted that antibiotic resistance could affect people at any stage of life, making it one of the world’s top public health challenges. (NAN)