The health ministry is tightening up controls on prescribing antibiotics through the health system Gesy, it said on Tuesday.
According to data from the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC), Cyprus is among the European countries with the highest consumption of antibiotic drugs and as a result among the countries with the highest rates of antimicrobial resistance, the ministry said.
“Recognising the seriousness of the problem, the health ministry is planning a series of actions aimed at the rational use of antibiotics and the treatment of microbial resistance,” it said.
These actions include the development of a surveillance programme of antibiotic prescriptions in outpatient health care in collaboration with the Health Insurance Organisation.
As part of this programme, since May 2 a questionnaire has been introduced which must be filled in by attending physicians when prescribing antibiotics on Gesy.
The questionnaire also includes a question regarding the clinical indication for prescribing the antibiotic.
“The ultimate goal of the ministry of health is to promote the prescription of antibiotics only when indicated (ie in the case of bacterial and not viral infections) but also the prescription of antibiotics which are suitable for the particular infection,” the ministry added.
The ministry said the rational use of antibiotics and safeguarding the effectiveness of “these precious medicines” is everyone’s responsibility, both health professionals and the public.
“We should remember that antibiotics should only be taken after a doctor has examined us and prescribed them. We do not store antibiotics for later use and we do not use antibiotics left over from previous treatments. Finally, we do not give others antibiotics that we have left over,” it concluded.