Kenyan Children at Health Risk over Excessive Antibiotics Prescriptions

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Common infections have become increasingly harder to treat globally, worst still the number of new treatments being developed for such infections like pneumonia and tuberculosis has fallen according to a report released by the Access to Medicine Foundation in Amsterdam.

Developing countries like Kenya have rising rates of drug-resistance as they struggle to access effective treatments. The report established that of 13 newly developed antibiotics, only three are available in at least 10 low and middle-income countries. In some instances,  when the best antibiotics are unavailable, doctors are often forced to use inferior drugs or delay treatment, leading to the rise of drug-resistant bacteria.

Children are more vulnerable to common infections and diseases. Parents would be quick to give them antibiotics for common cold and flu without consulting a medical practitioner, a habit that is detrimental to their health. According to The Lancet Infectious Diseases Journal, children in low and middle-income countries including Kenya are receiving an average of 25 antibiotic prescriptions during their first five years of life, given that two antibiotic prescriptions per year are considered excessive in many high-income countries.

Misuse or overuse of the drugs increases the exposure or interaction of bacteria to existing antibiotics. It becomes difficult to use antibiotics to treat bacterial infections such as pneumonia and for children, excessive antibiotic prescriptions could harm their ability to fight disease-causing organisms, one of today’s biggest threats to global health and development.

Health experts note that clinicians carry out the necessary diagnostic tests are to determine the cause of disease before prescribing the drug and parents should ensure that they complete the full dose of the antibiotics if prescribed. Kenya has done well in immunizing children, an option that minimizes the use of antibiotics in their life.

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