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Let's beware of rising anti-microbial resistance

  Antibiotic sensitivity test. [iStockphoto]

Anti-microbial resistance poses a grave threat to public health worldwide. It is not just a problem for hospitals or healthcare facilities; it affects every one of us.

Infections once easily treatable now pose a significant challenge due to resistant bacteria and fungi. We must take a proactive stance in addressing this issue, and that starts with implementing robust anti-microbial stewardship programmes. Kenyatta National Hospital is at the forefront of these activities and we have faced resistant infectious disease challenges.

The Anti-Microbial Stewardship (AMS) is a comprehensive approach that focuses on optimal use of anti-microbial agents. It is not merely about restricting access to antibiotics; it is about using them judiciously and responsibly.

By embracing AMS, we ensure patients receive the right anti-microbial treatment, at the right dose, and for the appropriate duration. This approach enhances patient safety, improves clinical outcomes, and reduces the development of resistance.

Adhering to anti-microbial guidelines plays a vital role in our pursuit of excellence. These guidelines are evidence-based and will serve as our roadmap to delivering effective and efficient care.

They consider local epidemiology, resistance patterns, and the availability of antimicrobial resources. By following these guidelines, we can make informed decisions that optimise treatment outcomes and promote rational and targeted therapy.

The benefits of implementing AMS and adhering to guidelines in our public hospital are numerous.

Firstly, patient safety is paramount. Through AMS, we prioritise patient well-being by minimising the risk of adverse events associated with antimicrobial therapy. This ensures our patients receive the most appropriate treatment, avoiding unnecessary harm. Secondly, AMS helps us combat antimicrobial resistance. As a public hospital serving a diverse population, we must be at the forefront of this war.

By implementing stewardship guidelines, we reduce selective pressure that contributes to emergence and spread of resistant bacteria. Our commitment to responsible antimicrobial use can make a significant difference, not only within our hospitals but also in community.

Thirdly, embracing AMS and guidelines is a financially sound decision. As a public hospital, we face budget constraints and the need to allocate resources wisely. By optimising antimicrobial use, we can reduce costs associated with prolonged or inappropriate therapy, adverse events, and the consequences of antimicrobial resistance.

This allows us to utilise our limited resources more effectively and ensure sustainable healthcare delivery. We must establish multidisciplinary teams comprising infectious disease specialists, pharmacists, microbiologists and other experts.

This collaborative effort will guide us in developing and updating guidelines tailored to our local context and keep pace with the evolving landscape of antimicrobial resistance.

Education and training are also paramount. As KNH, we provide our healthcare professionals with knowledge and skills necessary to make informed decisions on antimicrobial therapy. By empowering our teams, we ensure our patients receive best possible care.

As a national public referral hospital, we have a responsibility to lead by example, protect patients and community to combat rising threat of antimicrobial resistance.

Let us embrace this challenge together, with dedication, compassion and a commitment to excellence. Through our collective efforts, we can make a profound impact on patient outcomes, safeguarding the future of healthcare for generations to come. Let us continue to inspire and heal with our unwavering commitment.

The writer is Chief Executive Officer at Kenyatta National Hospital 

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