A new report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) put Turkey among the countries with the highest antibiotic resistance. The report "Stemming The Superbug Tide: Just A Few Dollars More" says the average resistance proportions in Turkey, Korea and Greece (about 35 percent) were seven times higher than in Iceland, the Netherlands and Norway, the countries with the lowest proportions or about 5 percent.
The finding is not surprising for a country where a culture of taking antibiotics even in the case of a slight sickness is prevalent. The country was already among the top three countries in terms of weak antimicrobial resistance to some infections according to a 2014 report by the World Health Organization (WHO).Reforming its healthcare system in the past decade, Turkey eased access to health services, saving millions from the nightmare of waiting for treatment at understaffed hospitals and included more citizens within the social security system. However, this is also blamed for overuse of antibiotics amid a prevalent mindset that views consumption of more pills or medicine equal to quicker treatment even in the case of the common cold. The government recently launched an awareness campaign, urging citizens to control intake of antibiotics and promoting effective use of antimicrobials.
The OECD report says superbug infections could cost the lives of around 2.4 million people in Europe, North America and Australia over the next 30 years unless more is done to stem antibiotic resistance.