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Speaking about the problems of utmost importance that are related to medicine and the production of pharmaceutical drugs, it is necessary to pay attention to certain changes in the effectiveness of medications. Resistance to antibiotics presents a significant problem due to its effects on mortality rates and the increasing costs of healthcare services. Drug resistance crisis severely impacts the quality of services, and it is the responsibility of healthcare providers to reduce the misuse of antibiotics and prevent medication mistakes through education.
Antibiotic Resistance and Its Status of a Health Crisis
Antibiotic resistance is linked to a never-ending process – the evolution of living organisms and microorganisms. As for its definition, the discussed phenomenon manifests itself when pathogenic bacteria or other organisms that lead to diseases acquire an ability to develop resistance to antibiotics and continue to survive and proliferate despite the use of drugs (Ventola, 2015). Along with other factors, the ability of bacteria to use mutation as a means of becoming resistant to various threats and develop new features contributes to antibiotic resistance.
Without exaggeration, the problem presents a health crisis due to several reasons. To begin with, an emphasis should be placed on the scale of the problem. Antibiotic resistance affects people in any country regardless of their sex, ethnicity, and socio-economic position. Some drugs that used to “save millions of lives” gradually became ineffective, which can potentially become a cause of old disease recurrence (Ventola, 2015, p. 277).
Apart from the decreasing effectiveness of antibiotics that threatens people’s health, drug resistance presents a crisis due to its global financial effects. The need to conduct research and invent new drugs that will be better than their analogues involves significant expenses, thus impacting the costs of healthcare services and medications. Theoretically, to overcome the crisis, it is necessary to design and implement the universal rules of antibiotic use, which can be difficult due to international inequality and the peculiarities of healthcare systems in different countries.
The Causes of Antibiotic Resistance
There is a range of factors that contribute to the existence of antibiotic resistance and its being a health crisis. First, resistance to drugs is caused by mutations: according to the principles of natural evolution, bacteria can change and adapt to the environment, which helps them survive and increase in number (Rote, 2017). Secondly, drug resistance occurs when bacteria produce specific enzymes that help them inactivate antibiotics and continue to proliferate (Rote, 2017). Thirdly, there is a large group of issues related to healthcare systems, treatment options, and research. These factors include the misuse or overuse of medications, prescription mistakes, and a limited supply of new drugs (Ventola, 2015). Given that the first two causes are quite difficult to impact, reducing the cases of drug misuse and treatment errors is the task of healthcare systems.
The Role of Healthcare Providers in Solving the Crisis
As a healthcare provider, I am responsible for the provision of high-quality services and patient education. Informing patients about the threats of antibiotic overuse and the need to follow doctors’ prescriptions can become a significant contribution to improvement. Apart from working with their clients, healthcare specialists can participate in regional events aimed at raising people’s health literacy concerning the use of antibiotics. Also, it is of great importance to constantly develop one’s professional skills and encourage other specialists to do the same since good knowledge prevents medication mistakes.
In the end, resistance to antibiotics presents a significant concern that impacts both healthcare providers and patients. Its negative effects are numerous, ranging from increases in healthcare costs and the length of hospital stays to the growth of mortality all over the world. Some factors that cause drug resistance relate to the problems of healthcare systems, and providers can use patient education and skill improvement to reduce the misuse of antibiotics.
Rote, N. S. (2017). Infection and defects in mechanisms of defense. In S. E. Huether & K. L. McCance (Eds.), Understanding pathophysiology (6th ed.)(pp. 176-213). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
Ventola, C. L. (2015). The antibiotic resistance crisis: Part 1: Causes and threats. Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 40(4), 277-283.