Ramesh Chaurasia talks about the problem of self-medication and antibiotic resistance in India

Ramesh Chaurasia is an entrepreneur well known for his warm personality and his philanthropic nature.

We talked to Mr. Ramesh Chaurasia regarding one of the biggest threats to global health. He is the national president of the Akhil Bharatiya Adarsh Chaurasia Mahasabha. He also works along with his team to help in the upliftment of underprivileged communities in India. His work in the education, employment and healthcare sector is commendable

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The philanthropist talks about the prevalent and growing issue of self-medication in India.

He says, “Self-medication is a huge problem in India. It has already been found in studies that almost 50% people are known to self-medicate for minor health ailments. Painkillers and antibiotics are the most commonly misused types of medicine. It has also been found through surveys that people who self-medicate are almost 5 times more likely to have medicine related problems which can lead to kidney failure or worse.”

The philanthropist adds, “We see that it is common for people in India to pop painkillers without prescription. This situation is even worse in villages where people take medication from quacks and often self-medicate because painkillers like Ibuprofen, Nimesulide, Aspirin, and many more are easily available without prescription. Some medicines are known to reduce blood flow to the kidneys and can cause acute kidney failure. Long term use of these painkillers without a doctor’s advice can cause chronic kidney disease. We should spread awareness about these risks and should ensure that this is discouraged all over the world. Our health is precious and we should not play with it.”

If we take a look at the 17 sustainable development goals of the United Nations, we find that Goal no. 3 is exactly related to this. Goal no 3 is to ensure healthy lives and promote well being for all at all ages.

It is true that society and governments are working on major factors pertaining to  malnutrition, environment, disease and lifestyle which are detrimental to health. However, this is not enough because there are several undiscussed yet crucial factors like growing antibiotic resistance which adversely affect billions of lives and even our future generations. Antibiotic resistance today has become a global challenge for billions of people in the world and self-medication along with treatment by non-certified health practitioners.

Mr. Ramesh Chaurasia shares, “Antibiotic resistance is a scary thing if you really dig into the topic. It is something which can affect anyone, anywhere, at any age. The misuse of antibiotics through self-medication is the leading cause behind it. Antibiotics are prescribed to treat bacterial infections. Bacteria often change in response to the use of antibiotics. When this happens, it becomes harder to treat infections because the medicines become less effective due to the changed response of the bacteria. This can lead us to a place where we won’t have any effective medicines to fight infections and common infections will once again become deadly for a large population.”

WHO’s plan to counter anti-microbial resistance

The World Health Organization (WHO) also considers antibiotic resistance to be a critical problem which needs to be tackled all over the world. In May 2015, a global action plan on anti-microbial resistance which includes antibiotic resistance was endorsed at the World Health Assembly.

This action plan has five objectives

  • To spread awareness about antibiotic resistance
  • To increase the research and observation
  • To reduce the frequency of infections
  • To achieve perfection in the application of anti-microbial medications
  • To get sustainable investment in fighting antimicrobial resistance

Mr. Ramesh Chaurasia suggests a few things that can be done to fight this growing problem. He suggests, “We should tell everyone we know that using antibiotics without a prescription by a qualified doctor can critically harm us. The most effective tool against any widespread problem is awareness. Today we have social media to spread awareness. Why don’t we use it in a way that benefits all of us? We should always use antibiotics according to the instructions or schedule provided by our doctor. We should never take medication on someone’s advice. We should always ask our doctor about the period for which we should be taking the medicine. If we don’t complete the course of our medication as prescribed by our doctor, the bacteria in our body become resistant to the antibiotics. If we take care of such things and completely stop self-medication, we should be able to counter this problem.”