Misdiagnosis bars UHC by causing resistance to drugs

Official says most cases of antimicrobial resistance arise from misdiagnosis

In Summary

• WHO estimates that more than 50 per cent of medicines globally are prescribed, dispensed or sold inappropriately putting half the population at risk of AMR. 

• Ministry should ensure proper equipment is used for testing and only trained personnel use it. 

MISUSED: Antibiotics.
Image: FILE

Antimicrobial resistance is described as the ability of a microorganism (like bacteria, viruses and some parasites) to stop an antimicrobial drug (antibiotics and antivirals) from working against it and render standard treatments ineffective, leading to persistence of infections and transmission to others.

The Kenya National Union of Medical Laboratory Officers (KNUMLO) recently raised concerns over an increase in cases of misdiagnosis and estimated that three out of 10 patients in Kenya get the wrong diagnosis or treatment.

Secretary general Enock Wanyonyi explained that the cases are the result of poor quality testing. Shockingly, HIV and tuberculosis are in the lead of misdiagnosis. This is a major threat to public health when citizens are exposed to medication to conditions they are not suffering from due to substandard testing equipment and processes.

This may lead to the development of Anti-Microbial Resistance, making the efficacy of drugs to work drop and exposing other people to infection. Kenya will suffer disproportionally considering AMR can spread from one patient to another within a hospital set-up through nosocomial infection.

The World Health Organization estimates that more than 50 per cent of medicines globally are prescribed, dispensed or sold inappropriately. This puts at least half the population at risk of developing AMR.

It is imperative to also ensure the testing is done by qualified personnel and using the approved reagents in order to protect more Kenyans from developing the drug resistance condition which may also exert pressure on the government creating a negative impact towards the President’s agenda of realising Universal Health Coverage.