Medics warn of increased drug resistance cases in Kenya

Misuse, overuse of antimicrobials cited as drivers in development of drug-resistant pathogens

In Summary

•Vaccination reduces AMR by preventing infections and reducing antimicrobial use

•The World Health Organization has declared AMR as one of the top 10 global health threats facing humanity.


Drug resistance also known as antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is fast becoming a threat in Kenya, healthcare practitioners have warned.

The warning comes as the world marks antimicrobial awareness week hosted by Pfizer, a leading global biopharmaceutical company.


Drug resistance occurs when a bacteria, fungi, viruses or parasites change over time and become less susceptible to medication.

This makes infectious diseases more difficult to treat leading to an increased likelihood of the disease spreading, prolonged illness, disability and even death.

“There is increased need to support and encourage the development of vaccines as they are valuable in combating Antimicrobial Resistance incidences," Dr Jacob Shabani of Aga Khan University Hospital said.

The World Health Organization has declared AMR as one of the top 10 global health threats facing humanity.

Misuse and overuse of antimicrobials are the main drivers in the development of drug-resistant pathogens.

Antimicrobials are medicines used to treat infections in people andb they include antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals and antiparasitic.

WHO recommends three priority actions to be considered by stakeholders in the fields of immunisation.

The three include, expanding the use of licensed vaccines to maximise impact on AMR, developing new vaccines that contribute to the prevention and control of AMR and sharing knowledge on the impact of vaccines on AMR.

“The economic cost of AMR to the global economy is high, in addition to death, disability and prolonged hospitalisation, the financial repercussion on the affected is huge,"the KDF Memorial Hospital’s infectious disease specialist, Sylvia Gachoka said.

Gachoka said the production pipeline for new antimicrobials is dry and there is a global shortage of quality ones especially in developing nations.

The World Bank projects that AMR would account for more than 3 per cent reduction in Gross Domestic Product globally by 2050 if interventions are not implemented as soon as possible.

Senior medical manager at Pfizer Eva Njagua says researchers and manufacturers need to be offered appropriate incentives for research and enabled to have a greater and collective impact on AMR..

"In cases where prospects for wholesale investments are limited due to market constraints, partnerships should be encouraged within the context of national health and medicine policies,”Njagua said.

“At Pfizer, we have a long history in research and development aimed at bringing scientific breakthroughs and revolutionary medicines that change patients’ lives."

He said Pfizer applies science and global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives.

It also strives to set standard for quality, safety, and value in the discovery, development, and manufacture of health care products, including innovative medicines and vaccines.

For more than 150 years, Pfizer has worked to make a difference for all who rely on them.

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