Health Minister Zahid Maleque has said that the United Nations (UN) has urged its member states to formulate policies and laws so that excessive use of antibiotics can be prevented.
The minister revealed the information during an exclusive interview with UNB, held at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel, on Sunday.
During the interview, the health minister informed that the issue of antibiotics use received special focus during the 77th session of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
“This year, UNGA held three sessions on health, in which I had participated. The antibiotics issue, particularly resistance to antibiotics, was widely discussed during these sessions. Countries present during the sessions expressed great concern over the fact that people all over the world were often using antibiotics without prescriptions, and it was discovered that people from low and middle income countries were using antibiotics more than people from rich countries,” Zahid Maleque said.
The minister added that one of the reasons why antibiotics use is so widespread is because a lot of medicines are sold over-the-counter.
“Anyone can buy antibiotic medicine from the medicine stores directly, without showing any prescription. People are developing antibiotic resistance due to such overuse, which means antibiotics can’t cure the illness for which it is consumed. As a result, many people are dying around the world not from sickness, but from overusing drugs,” the minister commented.
Replying to a question, the minister said that Bangladesh’s healthcare system was praised during the UN session.
“Our success in Covid-19 management has been lauded by all. Besides, the medicines we produce and export were also acclaimed. We screened a documentary in which we have highlighted our achievements in the health sector, which was well received. All in all, the response has been mostly positive,” Zahid Maleque said.
Terming antibiotic resistance as a terrifying phenomenon, he added that the UN has emphasized the need for inventing new antibiotics that are more effective than the existing ones.
“At the UN session, member states have been urged to provide healthcare services in proper ways. They have also been asked to ensure that no one can avail medicine like antibiotics without prescriptions. Most importantly, the countries present at the session have pledged to make sure that everyone gets treated by an expert doctor, and doesn’t consume drugs without sufficient reason,” the minister concluded.