Health Minister Zahid Malik yesterday directed all deputy commissioners to control use of antibiotics in agro, poultry and cattle farms.
He also asked them to take steps so that pharmacies cannot sell antibiotics without prescriptions from registered doctors.
The minister pointed out the sharp rise in cancer and heart diseases in the country in recent years and said food adulteration and environment pollution were partly to blame for this. He asked the DCs to address both the issues.
His directives, given on the fourth day of the DC conference at the secretariat, comes in the wake of a series of lab tests that detected antibiotics, lead, cadmium and pesticides in food items, including packaged and nonpackaged milk.
The use of antibiotics both for humans and animals is often indiscriminate in Bangladesh. In many cases, antibiotics are used without prescriptions.
Zahid Malik said antibiotics are being used in poultry, fish and dairy farms that ultimately enter into human bodies through fish and meat.
This in turn leads to antimicrobial resistance, meaning certain antibiotics simply stop working, he said.
“So we asked them [DCs] to be cautious about it and visit different farms so that it [use of antibiotics] can be controlled,” he told reporters after the meeting.
Global as well as the country’s drug policies allow sale of antibiotics only when prescribed by registered doctors. But many pharmacies do not follow this rule.
“We asked them to take steps so that pharmacies can’t sell antibiotics without prescriptions,” he added.
The minister also asked the DCs to visit district and upazila hospitals regularly and check attendance of doctors, cleanliness and other issues of the hospitals.
MOSQUITO CONTROL WEEK
Amid rising cases of dengue fever in and outside the capital, the government will now launch a countrywide “Anti-Mosquito Week” campaign from July 25 to 31.
Local Government Division Minister Tazul Islam told reporters the DCs were given directives to take necessary steps in this regard.
He said a cleanliness drive will be carried out simultaneously across the country.
More than 5,000 people have been infected with dengue virus so far this year, according to the Directorate General of Health Services.
On media reports that the chemicals the two Dhaka city corporations are using to kill mosquitos were ineffective, the minister said, “Even if I wish, I can’t spray chemicals to kill mosquitos that can also kill humans.”
Use of any chemicals for mosquito control requires permission from the World Health Organisation, he pointed out.
Tazul said he ordered relevant officials to have those chemicals re-tested at the labs of international certification agencies, including the SGS and Bureau Veritas.
About the ongoing demonstration by municipalities staff in front of the Jatiya Press Club, he said they were examining their demands.
Several thousand employees of the municipalities from across the country started a sit-in programme in front of the Press Club from July 14, demanding their salaries be paid from state funds, like other government employees.
The minister said no municipalities would survive if they cannot earn enough to meet their annual expenditure.
NO CATTLE MARKET ON ROADS
The DCs have been instructed not to allow any cattle market on roads and highways ahead of the Eid-ul-Azha next month.
“We sought their cooperation in this regard,” said Nazrul Islam, secretary of Road Transport and Highway Division.
In many cases, cattle markets are set up on roads and highways, blocking traffic movement.
Nazrul Islam took part in the meeting with the DCs as Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader is abroad for medical check-up.