The World Health Organization warned Monday that the consumption of antibiotics is dangerously high in some countries, while shortages in others are causing poor use, leading to the appearance of deadly infections.
In the first place, the United Nations health agency said it collected data on the use of antibiotics in large parts of the world and found great differences in consumption.
The report, based on 2015 data from 65 countries and regions, showed a significant difference in the consumption rates of approximately four calls daily defined doses (DDD) per 1,000 inhabitants per day in Burundi to more than 64 in Mongolia.
"The big difference in the use of antibiotics around the world indicates that some countries probably exceed antibiotics while other countries may not have enough access to these life-saving medications," the WHO said in a statement.
Discovered in the 1920s, antibiotics 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 once they have been reliably defeated.
WHO repeatedly warns that the world is running out of effective antibiotics and, last year, urged governments and large pharmacists to create a new generation of medications to fight ultra-resistant supergermitters.
"Excessive use and misuse of antibiotics are the main causes of resistance to antimicrobials," said Suzanne Hill, head of WHO's unit of basic medications.
"Without effective antibiotics and other antimicrobials, we will lose our ability to treat common infections such as pneumonia," he warned.
Bacteria can become resistant when patients use antibiotics that do not need, or do not finish a course of treatment, giving the semi-strained rash an opportunity to recover and build immunity.
Hill insisted that the results "confirm the need to take urgent measures, such as the application of prescription policies only to reduce the unnecessary use of antibiotics."
Although excessive use of antibiotics is worrying, WHO said the low numbers were also worrying.
"Resistance can occur when people can not afford full treatment or only have access to low-quality or counterfeit medications," he said.
The WHO report showed great differences in the use of antibiotics even in the regions.
In Europe, which provided the most complete data for the report, the average antibiotic consumption was about 18 DDD per 1,000 inhabitants per day.
But within the region, Turkey, which held the highest in more than 38 DDDs, showed nearly five times greater consumption than the smaller Azerbaijan consumer country, which had less than eight DDDs.
WHO has recognized the image of how antibiotics are used around the world.
The general view on Monday, for example, includes only four countries in Africa, three in the Middle East and six in the Asia-Pacific region. Notably the United States, China and India are missing from the chart.
WHO emphasized that many countries face major challenges in collecting reliable data, including lack of funds and trained personnel.
Since 2016, the US agency has helped collect data in 57 low-income and middle-income countries, with the intention of establishing a standardized system to control the use of antibiotics.
"Reliable data on the consumption of antibiotics are essential to help countries to become aware of the proper use of antimicrobials," he told WHO.