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Curbing Antibiotic Resistance While Ensuring Access To All

Last week was World Antibiotics Awareness Week, an observance that takes place every November to increase awareness of antibiotic resistance worldwide. Efforts last week also encouraged best practice among the general public, health workers, prescribers, and policymakers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.

MAP International serves as a life-saving source for medicines such as antibiotics to some of the poorest communities on earth. At MAP, we believe it is imperative that we safeguard the effectiveness of these medicines for future generations; we focus on this year-round.

Antibiotic resistance is a growing and dangerous global threat. To help curb this threat, MAP only sends medicines requested by local clinics and hospitals thus ensuring supplies are not overused. This is critical because there are still many parts of the world that do not have access to antibiotics.

And, front-line antibiotics like amoxicillin can continue to be an effective, life-saving treatment with careful distribution and appropriate use.

Amoxicillin is effective in treating ear infections, strep, pneumonia, and other common infectious diseases. However, in resource-poor countries, pediatric amoxicillin is either difficult to find or impossible to afford, except for the very wealthy.

“Pediatric formulations of amoxicillin are not always available outside of the large cities or hospitals,” said Dr. Eduardo Gallo, who works in a rural area of Guatemala.

Dr. Yusimil Carrazana, who works among the urban poor in a Guatemala City, puts it even more starkly, “When my patients need pediatric amoxicillin, most can’t afford to pay for it. It’s heartbreaking.”

Fortunately, both Drs. Gallo and Carranza now have access to pediatric amoxicillin thanks to MAP International’s initiative to get more life-saving pediatric antibiotics to patients who can’t afford it.

Lilliana Garcia, whose eight-year-old son is a patient of Dr. Carrazana’s wept as she thanked donors for making the medicine available.

“My son has been sick for three years with ear and throat infections,” she said. “He has already missed so much school. I love him so much and am so grateful to God and those who have made it possible for him to receive this medicine.”

Preventing antibiotic resistance is critically important worldwide. But ensuring access to life-saving antibiotics for children who cannot afford, nor obtain them in resource-poor communities is just as imperative. At MAP International, we aim to do both.

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