Speaking here over the weekend during a climax event of a countrywide special campaign against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) by the Tanzania Pharmaceutical Students Association (TAPSA), deputy minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Anthony Mavunde said the government is working hard to term the vice.
According to him, despite numerous efforts in addressing the challenge human medicines in Tanzania are prescribed, dispensed and sold incorrectly whereby self-medication, overuses and failure to finish dozes remain common habits among most patients.
"Antimicrobial Resistance (MRA) is a killer pandemic which continued to claim life of hundreds of people in the country even more than HIV/Aids. We must glue together and stand at fore in order to combat this problem to zero," he expressed.
Mavunde underscored the need for politicians from across the country to use their positions and influence to campaign against MRA.
For her part, senior pharmacist from Prime Minister's Office (Regional Administration and Local Government) Regina Joseph said poor adherence and misuses of medicines stands among key causes of MRA in Tanzania.
She said relevant statistics depict that at least 700,000 people die annually in the world due to antimicrobial resistance.
"The grim statistics is that, it is projected, by 2050 MRA will kill a total of 10 million people globally if not managed. This alarming figure calls for the need of immediate and long-term measures against this disease," she unveiled.
Detailed over the climaxed campaign, TAPSA’s president, Erick Venant said the voluntary campaign launched on 2nd September last year managed to reach at least 48,694 students and 688 teachers in 177 secondary schools from across the country.
"When it comes to fighting antimicrobial resistance creating public awareness is an important part of tackling the issue. Through the campaign we were able to hit and exceeded our target, we had ample opportunity to explain the problem of antimicrobial resistance and why there is a need to act against the bad culture," he emphasised.
A research by Health Promotion and System Strengthening (HPSS) in Dodoma Region in 2016 established that 76.5 per cent of people purchased medicines at various pharmacies without doctor’s description (self-medication) whereby at least 32. 1per cent obtained antibiotics for animal feeding.
Antimicrobial resistance occurs when microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change in ways that render the medications used to cure the infections they cause ineffective. When the microorganisms become resistant to most antimicrobials they are often referred to as “superbugs”.
TAPSA, formerly known as Association of Dar es Salaam University Pharmaceutical Students (ADUPS) was founded in mid-August 1987 by Muhimbili University Pharmacy Students, when Muhimbili was university College of Dar es Salaam.
When Muhimbili became a full fledged university in 2007, ADUPS was changed to Tanzania Pharmaceutical Students' Association (TAPSA) aiming at uniting all pharmacy students in Tanzania.