Hospitals in Saudi Arabia mark antibiotics awareness week

The launch of the antibiotics awareness program at King Fahd Hospital in Jeddah.

Saudi Gazette


Health practitioners in the Kingdom have urged caution on overuse of antibiotics as the WHO is marking the world antibiotic awareness week.

The Ministry of Health launched an awareness campaign with healthcare teams visiting major hospitals to shed light on the undesirable effects of antibiotics.

In Jeddah, the campaign was formally launched at King Fahd General Hospital. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Majid Al-Harity, the hospital’s assistant director, urged patients to consult doctors prior to taking antibiotics.

He said the frequent use of antibiotics for quick relief will lead bacteria to develop resistance, enabling them to survive in adverse condition, thereby reducing the efficacy of the medicines.

Al-Harity said while antibiotic resistance is everyone’s problem, keeping antibiotics effective is everyone’s responsibility. They must be used in a responsible manner by avoiding antibiotics to treat common viral infections, such as flu and diarrhea, he said, adding that when necessary antibiotics must be taken in correct doses and only after proper diagnosis by a qualified medical practitioner.

The Ministry of Health has been focusing on reducing the use of antibiotics by patients in the Kingdom. It has warned pharmacies not to dispense any antibiotic drugs to patients without prescription from doctors.

It also warned pharmacies of fines of up to SR100,000 and revocation of licenses for violating the rule for dispensing medicines.

Discovered in the 1920s, antibiotics have saved tens of millions of lives by defeating bacterial diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and meningitis.

But over the decades, bacteria have learned to fight back, building resistance to the same drugs that once vanquished them.

The World Health Organization said on Monday that antibiotics consumption is dangerously high in some countries while a shortage in others is spurring risky misuse, driving the emergence of deadly superbug infections.