Antibiotics use in Turkey highest in Europe: WHO report
Turkey has ranked the highest in antibiotics use at over 38 defined daily doses (DDD) per 1,000 people in Europe, where the average antibiotic consumption was nearly 17.9 DDD per 1,000 inhabitants per day, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) report published on Nov. 12.
The report, titled “Report on Surveillance of Antibiotic Consumption,” showed that Mongolia’s total antibiotics and pharmacological consumption was the highest of all among the countries surveyed, at 64.41 DDD per 1,000 people.
Consumption density of the beta-lactam antibacterials subgroup was largest in Greece and Turkey: 8.0 DDD per 1000 inhabitants per day and 12.4 DDD per 1000 inhabitants per day corresponding to a proportional use of 24 percent and 33 percent, respectively, according to WHO.
The large difference in antibiotic use worldwide indicates that some countries are probably overusing antibiotics while other countries may not have sufficient access to these life-saving medicines, said the report, adding that WHO’s European region had an almost four-fold difference between the lowest- and highest-consuming country in the region.
“Overuse and misuse of antibiotics are the leading causes of antimicrobial resistance. Without effective antibiotics and other antimicrobials, we will lose our ability to treat common infections like pneumonia,” said Suzanne Hill, director of the Department of Essential Medicines and Health Products at WHO.
“Findings from this report confirm the need to take urgent action, such as enforcing prescription-only policies, to reduce unnecessary use of antibiotics,” she added.
In a report published in 2017, WHO suggested that the consumption of antibiotics in Turkey is among the highest across the WHO European region, and antibiotic use is a major driver of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
Conforming to this observation, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) warned in a Nov. 7 report that antibiotic resistance is highest in Turkey among OECD countries.
“The average resistance proportions in Turkey, Korea and Greece [about 35 percent] were seven times higher than in Iceland, Netherlands and Norway, the countries with the lowest proportions [about 5 percent],” the report noted.
At least one in three medical prescriptions in Turkey includes antibiotics, a board member at the Turkish Clinical Microbiology and Epidemic Diseases Association (KLİMİK) said in October last year.
Prof. Dr. Önder Ergönül warned that immune systems are increasingly adapting to higher doses of antibiotics.
“Turkey is the top consumer of antibiotics among OECD countries,” Ergönül stated, adding that new infections immune to all types of antibiotics are emerging.
To address this growing problem, Turkish health authorities have implemented a number of integrated interventions with WHO guidance and support, the WHO noted in its 2017 publication.
“The Health Ministry of Turkey supports hand hygiene to prevent AMR. A new electronic prescription system has been developed to monitor and control the use of antibiotics. The system tracks prescription data and provides feedback to physicians. Turkey is among the countries that have pioneered AMR surveillance in Europe,” the report said.