By Samwel Doe Ouma @samweldoe
Kenya Medical Association has challenged the national drug regulatory authority-Pharmacy and poisons board (PPB) to strengthen the established quality authentication processes for registered pharmaceutical agents in the Kenyan market to help in containing antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
According to KMA poor enforcement of existing regulations and on monitoring of counterfeits, substandard and smuggled drugs coupled with limited awareness on the impact of wanton use of antimicrobials by the public, policy makers and professionals who prescribe, distribute and utilize these drugs is threatening our ability to sustain an effective global health response to ubiquitous threat of infectious diseases because of antimicrobial resistance.
“PPB should effectively enforce the pharmacy and poisons board act (Cap 244) and food, drugs and chemical substance (Cap 254) and bolster the pre-existing monitoring of antimicrobial use patterns by utilization of digitally deployed audit and feed back mechanisms.” Dr Brenda Obondo said.
She said that Kenya has developed and published several guidance on containment of AMR, however these guidelines are not efficiently disseminated and they are not effectively utilized.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the ability of microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites) to change over time because of mis/overuse and no longer respond to medicines used to treat them (such as antibiotics, antifungals, antiviral agents, antimalarials) making it harder to treat these infections.
The Kenya Medical Association (KMA), Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Brenda Obondo spoke at Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) symposium in Nairobi held as part of the commemoration of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) that began on 18th November to 24th November, 2022.
According to Dr Karim Wanga, pharmacy and poisons board has been proactive in ensuring that all drugs in the country are safe for the public and meet quality standards and are efficacious.
“PPB carries out regular post marketing surveillance of medical products and health technologies circulating in the Kenyan market to ensure patient safety. The board has also distributed minilabs both at point of entries and regionally for random sampling and testing to ensure that medicines in the Kenyan market meet required standards and are safe and efficacious,” Dr Wanga told reporters.
He urged members of the public to report any adverse drug reactions (ADRs) or poor-quality medicines through the electronic systems (PVRS) or through the USD code *2718*
KMA warned Kenyans from Over-the-Counter antibiotic usage and urging them to seek medical consultation from a licensed medical practitioner and or veterinarians for their animals to prescribe for them drugs.
“Patients and public should only use antibiotics when prescribed by duly qualified and licensed healthcare professionals, take as instructed and finish prescriptions of antimicrobials even when they feel better.”
KMA called for enhanced intersectoral and interdisciplinary collaboration and engagements between multiple stakeholders to implement existing national action plans
“KMA recognize the threat of antimicrobial resistance as a key global health priority and the responsibility of every country’s health ecosystem as a whole,” She said adding that, “that the results of the resistance manifest themselves not just in the impact on human health, but also in veterinary practice and agriculture.”
The drivers of AMR include indiscriminate use, misuse and overuse of antimicrobials in humans, animals, crop sectors and aquaculture. In addition, poor disposal practices and presence of antimicrobials in the environment, water bodies and water streams.
KMA through its public health committee works to advocate for better health systems and policies to guide implementations of the same.
She said that the national doctor’s union is committed and has over time contributed to the prevention of antimicrobial resistance through its member education, sensitizing patients, playing an advisory role to the Ministry of Health through participation in various working groups and actively participating in the world antimicrobial awareness weeks.
KMA’s other commitments includes encouraging and educating association members towards engaging in antimicrobial stewardship approaches focused on best practices in infection prevention, use of diagnostic tools, prudent prescribing and continuous education of the public on infection management and control.
While Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya (PSK)-Kenya’s Pharmacists Professionals apex organization- urged doctors and members public to involve pharmacists in all their medication journey to enable them achieve quality and optimum pharmaceutical care and also to avoid preventable adverse drug events (ADEs) caused by medication discrepancies that could have been avoided.
According to Lucas Nyabero, PSK chief executive officer (CEO), Pharmacist involvement within a multidisciplinary health care team during admission of medication can have a significant improvement in patient safety and an economic benefit.
“Using medications in a wrong way has many knock- on effects,” he said adding that “Antibiotics should only be used after diagnosis has been made which indicates that antimicrobial therapy is appropriate. Appropriate use of antibiotics also requires that a culture and antimicrobial susceptibility testing be performed, when possible, to guide the selection of antimicrobials.”
He said that the country lacks active and current antibiogram to guide therapy choices and not utilizing culture and sensitivity tests.