A microbiologist has urged the government to “regulate” the overuse of antibiotics to prevent the life-saving drug from being resistant to the diseases.
Prof Ahmed Abu Saleh of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University says for a start, the government needs to stop the over-the-counter sale of antibiotics.
“We need a policy and guidelines for the use of antibiotics,” he said on Tuesday while speaking at a seminar at Dhaka cantonment on promoting biosafety and biosecurity in Bangladesh.
The icddr,b, Bangladesh Country Office of the US’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Biosecurity Engagement Program (BEP) of the US Department of State, and Bangladesh Biosafety and Biosecurity Association (BBBA) in collaboration with the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) are co-organising the two-day seminar.
It is aimed at sensitising and training the relevant forum in the armed forces “to mitigate bio-risk situation together with other experts in this area”.
Prof Saleh of the microbiology and immunology department spoke on the indiscriminate use of antibiotics. He said even the latest antibiotics were being used irrationally, raising the risk of bacteria being resistant to the drugs.
“If we lose those drugs, we’ll have nothing to treat patients at hospitals and ICUs,” he said. “If not all, at least some of the antibiotics should be restricted from being sold without prescription to the consumers.”
Experts working on biosafety, biosecurity, bioterrorism and biodefence presented papers on different issues at the seminar.
Armed Forces Division’s Principal Staff Officer Lieutenant General Md Mahfuzur Rahman inaugurated the seminar.
A large number of Bangladeshi troops go abroad for many reasons, including working in the UN’s peacekeeping operations where, the PSO said, they are “exposed to many infectious diseases endemic to those countries”.
“When they return home they are at risk of transmitting those diseases. The recent Ebola pandemic in West African countries put our troops in a very vulnerable situation. Strict biosafety measures have saved us from casualties,” he said.
Bangladesh is also under threat of several emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases such as avian flu, swine flu, SARS, MERS, and Nipah virus disease.
“Bangladesh’s armed forces should ,therefore, build capacity to combat such situation,” he said.