“Any time antibiotics are used, they can cause side effects and lead to antibiotic resistance,” reminds Dr. Christopher Lee, the Health Ministry's Head of Infectious Diseases.
“The fact that countries from around the world are conducting ‘antibiotic awareness week’ clearly shows that usage, or in this case, overusing antibiotics is now one of the most urgent threats to the public’s health,” he adds.
Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. Each year in the United States, at least two million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die as a direct result.
“In Malaysia, the numbers are not that far off either. In fact, the same holds true for many countries around the world,” he cautions.
Many more die from complications from antibiotic-resistant infections.
“Patient education helps improve the way healthcare professionals prescribe antibiotics, and the way we as consumer take antibiotics, helps keep us healthy now, helps fight antibiotic resistance, and ensures that these lifesaving drugs will be available for future generations.
“Most importantly, managing other stakeholders remain key in the fight on raising awareness on antibiotics,” he says.
Watch the full interview below: