Simple medicines save lives

Often in Europe or other developed nations we take the use of antibiotics for granted and sometimes even misuse them, while many people in developing nations are suffering needlessly, because they have no access to the right antibiotics to treat their medical conditions. Without the right antibiotics children like seven-year-old Aissa have little chance against diseases like Noma.

Aissa

When little Aissa was discovered by Sarah, a physician’s assistant in Cameroon, Aissa weighed only 15 kg and it was clear Noma would quickly take her life. With no access to the right antibiotics 9 out of 10 people who contract Noma in West Africa will die from the disease.

Aissa’s journey to total restauration took quite some time. After antibiotics helped to kill the bacteria doctors then removed the effected part of her cheek. She was put on feeding tubes to help her gain strength and then a four-month-long feeding program to regain her normal body weight and get her strength back.

Finally doctor Abi Boys, a surgeon from the UK who had worked on board two of Mercy Ships floating hospitals, arranged for Aissa to travel to Togo where a team of surgeons reconstructed Aissa’s face on board the Africa Mercy.

 

Antibiotic Day

 

You can also do your part to make sure that these vital medicines continue to be effective by educating yourself about the correct use of antibiotics. Check out these 5 interesting facts about Antibiotics provided by EMed:

1) Antibiotics are an essential part of modern medicine and are the only cure for numerous infectious diseases
Since the discovery of penicillin in the 1940s, scientists from many countries have developed more than 150 different antibiotics to help stop the spread of infections.

2) The worst thing you can do is not finish the full course of antibiotics prescribed
At the beginning of treatment antibiotics wipe out the most vulnerable and weakest bacteria. Premature termination of an antibiotic course will allow more resistant bacteria to survive, multiply and even becomes immune to the treatment. Even if you feel better finish the course so the antibiotic can complete its work.

3) How antibiotic resistance happens
Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is produced by changes in the bacterium’s DNA, called ‘Mutations’. If one bacterium with a mutation survives the antibiotic, it can reproduce millions more with the same resistance within the space of a day.

4) Proper dosage is very important for antibiotic effectiveness
If the dosage of the antibiotic is not adequate, it will not be effective for treatment of the infection and bacteria also likely to develop resistance. This is because the bacteria can continue to grow and develop ways to disrupt the antibiotic’s effects.

5) Antibiotics are life-savers
Antibiotics have saved countless lives worldwide. When antibiotics were first used to treat bacterial infection they were hailed as the greatest lifesavers of all time. Before penicillin was discovered, infections were a leading cause of death. In 1900, the three leading causes of death were pneumonia, tuberculosis, and diarrhea/enteritis, which (together with diphtheria) caused one third of all deaths.