Bacterial resistance: the significant worldwide problem


(Michael Schiffer, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Ketelly Bueno Koch, 21, fifth semester medical student at the University of Caxias do Sul, Brazil. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

Throughout the process of knowledge and creation of the first antibiotics, the world’s population was thrilled to learn that it could cure itself of fatal bacterial diseases. From the discovery of the first antibiotic, Penicillin, in 1928 by physician Alexander Fleming, pathologies such as syphilis, gonorrhea and pneumonia could be cured, increasing the survival of the world population. However, with the advent of science and the study of microbiology, bacterial resistance was discovered, a process in which natural selection occurs, where the stronger genetically bacteria survive the antibiotic used, thus propagating and generating more bacteria of the same genotype.

This problem affects a large part of the world’s population, constituting one of the biggest current public health problems. In Brazil, it is estimated that there are 23,000 annual deaths due to the problem. Thus, diseases that were previously cured with only one antibiotic no longer respond to treatment, leading to aggravation of pathologies that were easily eradicated. The World Health Organization’s list of the most resistant bacteria in the world before was seven bacteria in 2014, rising to 12 in 2017, showing an imminent threat to public health.

However, it is of utmost importance to have knowledge about the factors that are contributing to this problem, in order to combat it as best as possible. Among the contributors to the condition is poor hygiene, especially handwashing in hospitals, where staff and patients do not follow the washing steps, nor do they apply gel alcohol. In addition, a wide range of physicians empirically prescribe antibiotics without first performing culture and antibiogram collection, as well as microbiology laboratories that lack adequate infrastructure, whether in equipment or qualified professionals.

Therefore, it is necessary to have effective measures to combat the problem. It is important for prevention that the general population, as well as health professionals and other hospital workers, have general hygiene, such as care with hand washing and equipment sterilization. Vaccines also need to be up to date. The population should not arbitrarily reuse antibiotics left over from past treatments, there should always be medical indication in the use of these medications. For physicians, it is essential that antibiotic prescriptions come with adequate dosage and whenever possible perform antibiogram and culture collection. In addition, it is of paramount importance that the governors of different countries conduct campaigns aimed at informing the population correctly, as well as providing specific training for all health officials. If psychologists, physiotherapists, nurses and other professions have adequate and uniform knowledge  about the problem, there will be a correct dissemination of information to patients and the general population. Thus, with interprofessionality in vogue, it is possible to gradually minimize bacterial resistance.


Folha informativa – Resistência aos antibióticos [Internet]. [place unknown]: OPAS Brasil; 2017 [cited 2019 Nov 21]. Available from:

Superbactérias avançam no Brasil e levam autoridades de saúde a correr contra o tempo [Internet]. [place unknown]: BBC Brasil; 2017 [cited 2019 Nov 21]. Available from:

Ministério da Saúde desenvolve ações para buscar respostas contra resistência aos antimicrobianos [Internet]. [place unknown]: Ministério da Saúde; 2018 [cited 2019 Nov 21]. Available from:

Antimicrobianos. Boletim [Internet]. 2018 Junho [cited 2019 Nov 21];:16. Available from:

About the author

Ketelly Bueno Koch, 21, fifth semester medical student at the University of Caxias do Sul. Member of IFMSA – Brazil since March 2019, currently holding the position of SCOME committee coordinator. Dedicated to research and always attentive to the news of the medical world. Active in social issues, mainly related to volunteer work, which she believes to be fundamental for academic education.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Brexit: UK business fear of a no-deal scenario preparing for the worst

A climate scientist explains what the melting Arctic means for the world

Syria: At least seven children killed in yet another airstrike

The costs of corruption: values, economic development under assault, trillions lost, says Guterres

The refugee crisis brings to light EU’s most horrible flaws and nightmares

‘Let the children live’: UN prepares to ramp up food aid to Yemen as famine risk grows

Cohesion Policy: EU invests €880 million to improve Poland’s railway system

Draghi’s 2018 compromise: enough money printing to revive inflation and check euro ascent

Intensified Al Qaeda and ISIL activity in Yemen ‘deeply worrying’, says UN Human Rights Office

Removing deadly mines means ‘new horizons and hope’, clears a path to SDGs, says UN chief

How can coronavirus lockdowns end safely and effectively? – WHO briefing

Mental Health of Health Professionals Facing COVID-19

Canada grants asylum for Saudi teen who fled family: UNHCR

Lifting the lid on the value of a company’s human capital

Africa shouldn’t have to choose between high growth and low emissions

MEPs urge UK to break current deadlock

COP24: World sports join team UN in race against climate change

Why EU’s working and unemployed millions remain uncertain or even desperate about their future

Climate change: cutting the good by the root?

Flexible jobs can make work-life balance worse, a German study finds

Strength in unity: Commission makes recommendations for the EU’s next strategic agenda 2019-2024

Will the outcome of the UK referendum “calm” the financial markets?

The global appetite for meat is growing, and it’s harming the planet

Tackling youth unemployment through the eyes of a European entrepreneur

Does the West play the Syrian game in Egypt?

Encouraging progress made in 2018, in ‘zero tolerance’ effort to end sexual exploitation and abuse across UN

Work to make the world a better place: 5 things you need to know about ‘green jobs’

So, what is your favourite Sustainable Development Goal?

Reading this alone? Recent surveys reveal the curious truth about loneliness

‘Jerusalem is not for sale’ Palestinian President Abbas tells world leaders at UN Assembly

Gender Equality and medicine in the 21st Century: we want the fair share

The Chinese retail revolution is heading west

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: Tunisia coastline in need of climate cash boost

Statement by Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič on the explosion in Beirut, Lebanon

Trump reshapes the Middle East at the expenses of Europe

‘Young people care about peace’: UN Youth Envoy delivers key message to Security Council

Anti-Money Laundering: Commission decides to refer Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to fully implement EU anti-money laundering rules

UN programme to help spare millions from child marriage, extended to 2023

People, not technology, shape the future of manufacturing

An economist explains the pros and cons of globalization

CO2 emissions on the rise for first time in four years, UN agency warns

Further reforms needed for a stronger and more inclusive Argentine economy

Guinea President Alpha Condé: “We must tackle the root causes of migration”

Sexual exploitation and abuse: latest UN quarterly update

We need to talk about mental health at work, say employees

How smartphones can close the global skills gap for billions

EU Budget 2019: no deal before the end of the conciliation period

A Europe that protects: Continued efforts needed on security priorities

UN chief condemns air strike that hit school bus in northern Yemen, killing scores of children

5 things to know about the US opioid epidemic

Prepare for a ‘new normal’ as lockdown restrictions ease: Monday’s COVID-19 WHO briefing

Italy’s dilemma after Merkel-Hollande agreed loose banking union

Scoring for the environment: what Mathieu Flamini’s top-flight football career taught him about leadership

Internet Forum: Prioritize technologies most needed for sustainable development

FROM THE FIELD: Turning waste into a business in the slums of Yaoundé, Cameroon

This is how we can empower 8 billion minds by 2030

The current devaluation of primary health care professionals

Trump’s denial of Paris climate agreement; the US Republicans lash out against the world

The eyes of Brazil and the world turn to the largest rainforest and largest biodiversity reserve on Earth #PrayForAmazonia.

We can build an inclusive workplace, and it starts with empathy

More Stings?


Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s