Singapore is currently gearing towards the development of a comprehensive health plan that will combat the rising problem of antibiotic-resistant superbugs. Due to an alarming number of patients abusing or misusing antibiotic drugs, the Singaporean Ministry of Health proposed recently to address this alarming issue head on.
Following the agreement of world leaders to curb the rising problem of superbugs during the United Nations General Assembly in September, Singapore is leading the movement by creating a health plan for proper antibiotic use.
The Ministry of Health states that the proposed health plan will cover educating the public about proper antibiotic use, which symptoms need to be treated or not, and improving the method for monitoring its use. The plan will also stick closely to the recommendations outlined by the World Health Organization.
The effort to develop and implement a nationwide health plan to fight antibiotic-resistant superbugs will have the assistance of other agencies such as the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), the National Environment Agency (NEA), and the National University of Singapore (NUS).
Superbugs are bacteria that resist the effects of antibiotic drugs that can previously kill them. This is primarily due to excess or improper use of the drugs. This is a serious problem since superbugs are virtually impossible to eliminate, rendering the patient incurable.
According to health experts in Singapore, people have been using antibiotics to cure symptoms of common colds and other upper respiratory tract infections even without confirmation of the disease. In one study, a third of 900 of the patients surveyed expected to be given antibiotics by their doctors. Half of which would personally ask to be prescribed the drugs or would go to a second doctor to get it.
It's interesting to note that the main reason why most people prefer antibiotics regardless of the diagnosis of their symptoms is due to placebo effect. They look for a quick fix so they can immediately go back to work.
Another reason is the meat products in the supermarket. Since some animal farmers administer antibiotics to their animals for protection against diseases, the antibiotics can be consumed by the public which also increases the development of superbugs.
Health experts advice that instead of relying solely on antibiotics, patients should instead ask their doctors for diagnostic tests. Laboratory and culture tests determine what specific bacteria are causing the disease, and the correct antibiotics can then be given. This minimizes misuse of the drugs.
By facilitating correct drug prescription and proper dosage, and limiting antibiotics given to consumable animals, Singapore hopes to eliminate the rise of deadly antibiotic-resistant superbugs.