Skip to main content

Anti-microbial Resistance, a growing public health threat in Uganda

Today, Uganda National Health Laboratory Services (UNHLS) under Ministry of Health held a media breakfast meeting to update and sensitize the public on the growing burden of Antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Antimicrobial resistance refers to the situation where microorganisms become resistant to the medicine that was designed to kill them.


Some of the common ways that build up to AMR include;

  • Self-medication and abandoning antibiotics before the required duration when one starts to feel better
  • Traditional healers using antibiotics in their concoctions
  • Use of antibiotics by farmers to grow animals instead of treating diseases


Permanent Secretary, Dr. Diana Atwine stressed that for any antibiotic to be effective, it is important for the patient to be tested, screened, undergo timely diagnosis and then be put on the right line of treatment.
"For any antibiotic to be effective, the right dose for the right disease must be adhered to. We have a tendency of self-diagnosing and followed by self-medication - this is the greatest weapon for Antimicrobial resistance" Atwine noted.

Director General Health Services, Dr. Henry Mwebesa informed that discussions are underway between Ministry of Health and National Drug Authority (NDA) to deal with over the counter purchase of antibiotics. "We are going to work on the No Prescription, No Antibiotic policy" he said.


Dr. Kajumbula, Chair of Antimicrobial Resistance task force highlighted that 80% of infections in humans are caused by viruses but all cannot be cured by antibiotics. "Self-medication, failure to complete dosage are the major causes of drug resistance including antibiotics" he informed.

Dr. Kajumbula reiterated the necessity for all treatment to be administered after adequate laboratory testing and evidence.


The Commissioner National Health Laboratory and Diagnostic Services, Ministry of Health, Dr Susan Nabadda castigated the habit of moving around with cannulas which she said is a major source of infection since it provides a port entry into one’s system.

She advised that a patient should either be admitted until the required dose is complete, or sent home without a cannula.

Dr. Nabadda advises that health workers need to follow clinical guidelines on giving intravenous treatment for better health outcomes.