A Consultant Medical Parasitologist, Prof. Wellington Oyibo, on Wednesday advised people to stop treating diseases, such as malaria, without carrying out the right examination to help in its cure.
Oyibo, who is of the Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, University of Lagos, Idi-Araba, gave the warning in Lagos.
He said malaria which people said they had always, and had taken medicine without seeing good result, was due to antibiotics resistance.
According to him, different organisms, whether as bacteria or parasite, can trigger drug resistance when one indulges in self-medication.
He said: “So for a condition to be properly managed there is need to do the right testing.
“If you treat what you don’t have, you cannot get the result of what you are testing, so in that paradigm, there should be the right and appropriate testing as well as access to testing.
“There is a test we call MPS, which is Microscopy, Culture and Sensitivity.
“After carrying out the right culture, sensitivity testing for bacteria, there is an exposure to a range of antibiotics that will now be recommended to see those that are susceptible.
“It is on the basis of that, that you can then say you want to change your antibiotics and use a couple of antibiotics.
“When you take the wrong antibiotics not appropriate, it will trigger the bacteria that are exposed to antibiotics to a different form.
“As they have been exposed to those drugs, the bacteria or parasite can be destroyed.
“With that, you begin to form a huge population of organisms that are now resistance to some of those antibiotics.
“When these organisms that are resistance in person A, now gets to person B, C and D, that medicine that even worked primarily will not work again.“
The parasitologist also urged people not to take medicines and stop midway just when they felt they had comfort already.
He said stopping medication, midway, would not allow the organisms to feed on the drugs it should have done appropriately.
The expert warned people not to use the previous experience of symptoms of a friend or relatives as a guide to treatment, saying that could lead to drug-resistance.
He urged patients always contact a trained healthcare worker for medical assessment, saying only qualified health workers would know the tendencies that would help the patient to do a diagnosis.
According to him, drug-resistance can appear in many ways,“ particularly now that we have antibiotics that are broad range and broad spectrum.“
He called on the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN) to deepen enforcement on people buying drugs over the counter without a proper prescription.
The parasitologist said once that was done, access to medicines that would create resistance and drug pressure, due to self-medication, would be reduced.
Oyibo also urged the National Agency for Food Drugs and Administration (NAFDAC) to intensify its market surveillance and carry out post-market surveillance.
This he said was necessary to guarantee that medicines sold to patients were of good quality and not fake.
“We will also need to upgrade our facilities and do the needful because in many cases if you do not do a test, you will not be able to tell what is going wrong.
“Our facilities should be able to detect and respond to drug resistance, using the right protocol’’.
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