Antibiotics can only treat bacterial infections; they are not recommended for viral infections. Antibiotics are rarely needed to treat upper respiratory tract infections and generally should be avoided unless a doctor suspects it as a bacterial infection. Thus an inability to correctly diagnose respiratory tract infections can lead to the irrational prescription of antibiotics, thereby fuelling the spread of antibiotic resistance – a pressing global health concern.
WHAT WE DO
In January 2017, MSF started working on antibiotic resistance in Asansol, West Bengal, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. As part of the project, MSF set up two outpatient departments (OPDs) for treatment of acute respiratory infections overseeing consultations till October 2017. In parallel, the health promotion team organised and facilitated a multitude of workshops and behaviour change communication (BCC) sessions with stakeholders in the community to raise awareness about the proper use of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance as well as to understand the attitudes and practices around use and misuse of antibiotics in the district
MSF observed World Hand Hygiene Day on 5 May by organising workshops to raise awareness about hand hygiene among school children, groups of mothers and nursing school students in Asansol district. The health promotion teams conducted sessions on the basics of hand hygiene and preventing infections.
MSF observed World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) from 13-17 November in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Asansol District Hospital in West Bengal. As part of the activities of WAAW, MSF participated in a rally in collaboration with ANM Nursing School in Asansol district. MSF also conducted a workshop called ‘Antibiotic Resistance: Broader Implications for Humanity’ in Gupta College of Technological Sciences, Asansol, in collaboration with Indian Medical Association (IMA), Paschim Bardhaman district, that brought together technical experts, medical students and government officials on a single platform for a discussion. An information booth was also installed in Asansol District Hospital during the same week to raise awareness among local community members.