Turkish Health Ministry introduces BETA test to stem excessive use of antibiotics
The Health Ministry will introduce a quick test to determine the necessity of patients taking antibiotics in a bid to prevent excessive use of the medicine, as Turkey ranks top among Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries for antibiotic use.
Speaking at an event on the effective use of antibiotics, Health Minister Recep Akdağ said antibiotics are mostly used unnecessarily in Turkey, and due to this excessive use “we are in the worst situation among OECD countries in terms of bacterial immunity against antibiotics.”
Regarding the new test for the BETA microbe, Akdağ said doctors will be able to use it and detect the microbe within five minutes.
“At the end of this test, if the BETA [microbe] appears positive, antibiotics must be used. If not then there is no need to use antibiotics,” he said, adding that the ministry had given training to doctors for the use of the test and TV spots will be streamed to introduce the test, as well as posters and brochures.
Bacteria are gaining immunity and losing their effect against serious diseases like pneumonia and meningitis due to the unnecessary use of antibiotics, Akdağ said.
He noted that in Turkey a third of all patients who visit health clinics are given antibiotics, and this rate should be one in every six patients.
“Antibiotics use is twice as high as it should be,” said Akdağ, adding that use of the medicine has become almost like a “tradition” to treat simple flu and cold symptoms.
“Doctors are basically being forced to prescribe antibiotics. If they do not prescribe antibiotics people have the impression that the doctor has done something wrong,” he also said.