Tanzanians Warned Against Misuse of Antibiotics

MISUSE of antibiotics has raised the alarm of Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the country and across the world, the Government Chief Pharmacist, Daudi Msasi has warned.

AMR is the ability of a microorganism like bacteria, viruses, and some parasites to stop an antimicrobial such as antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarial from working against it.

As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others. He said this during the second Tanzania Health Supply Chain Summit (HSCS), which brought together stakeholders from the health sector to deliberate on pertinent issues revolving around improving the future of Tanzania's health supply chain.

"This is mostly caused by people using medicine without getting prescription or not completing the dosage, which does not terminate entirely the pathogens, and helps them create their own defense mechanism against the antibiotics," he explained.

He said that the ministry is focusing on the health experts to adhere to their ethics, as well as creating awareness and educating the community on the seriousness of the matter.

"A pharmacist is not allowed to give half a dose, or without prescriptions; and to citizens who do not complete their dose, they are strengthening the pathogens and only increase the cost of treatment in the long run," he stressed.

Discussing on the importance of data as the theme of the summit entails 'The future of Tanzania health supply chain performance driven by data and innovation', he said that among the areas the ministry of health is focusing on is having the nation's own quantification and forecasting of medicine and medical equipment.

"Currently there is a nationwide project involving all health facilities, where they are handling the quantification using tools that are developed by the government.

We expect to see its success in the 2020/21 quantification," he said.

He also insisted that the methods and systems used by various vertical programme projects in the country should align themselves with the set government system and quantification tools that use bottom up quantification. "

Its time all these projects align themselves with the government tool.

As the Deputy Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Dr Faustine Ndugulile said, 'if we want to move forward, we have to head in the same direction'".

Most drugs in various projects of Vertical programmes like leprosy, HIV/ AIDs, Tuberculosis and Malaria that are established within the health ministry and sponsored by various NGO's and companies have their own quantification systems, he explained.

"Information that comes from the health facilities know the quantity needed as they associate with consumers. Such data will help these projects to scale up with projections that are near accuracy," he said.

He elaborated that data collected from the health sector is plenty, and systems used to collect the data are many.

"We want all the systems to align with the government system 'GoTHoMIS', which will feed information to District Health Information Software (DHIS2) that reports globally on health issues."

Adding that, "We have created national health data warehouse (HMIS) as a mediator that collects all the data from other systems and sends it to 'GoT-HoMIS' and later to DHIS2."

He explained that using the system will help avoid two major effects of over or under stocking of the drugs.

"These two effects may cause either the community to lack medicine which will roll out other problems; or to have too many drugs in storage that will eventually expire, rise expense in storage cost and in discarding them."

The ministry of health is also creating a new and upgraded guide of medicine and medical equipment called 'health commodity revolving fund', he revealed.

"We expect by the end of the year it will be finalized and signed by the minister of health, so that it starts being used."

All these efforts are to get ready for the government's 2025 vision of middle income economy, where once reached, most of the aid will stop.

"Hence, before we reach 2025, we should be ready and prepared to take charge," he stressed. Mr Msasi stressed that the important thing is at the end of the day to ensure there is medicine availability to every citizen.

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