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More people will die from common surgical procedures and cancer treatments if dangerous bacteria continue to develop resistance to widely used antibiotics, a new study warns.


Patients rely on antibiotics to protect them from potentially deadly infections after undergoing chemotherapy, pacemaker implantation, cesarean sections or countless other medical procedures, said study senior author Ramanan Laxminarayan. He is director of the Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, a public health research organisation in Washington, D.C.


The new study, published on October 15 in The Lancet, estimates that as many as half of infections after surgery and more than a quarter of infections after chemotherapy are caused by organisms already resistant to standard antibiotics.
If antibiotic resistance increases by just 30 percent in the United States, the tougher-to-treat bacteria could cause 6,300 more deaths a year and 120,000 more infections in patients undergoing either chemotherapy for cancer or 10 common surgical procedures, the researchers projected.


“Anytime you\\\'re going to need a surgery or a transplant, you\\\'re going to need effective antibiotics. It\\\'s something that affects all of us,” Laxminarayan said.


Concern over antibiotic-resistant bacteria is growing. Earlier this year, the Obama administration released a national action plan to combat antibiotic resistance.


Also, the \\\"superbug\\\" MRSA was in the headlines this week after causing a serious infection in the ankle of New York Giants tight end Daniel Fells, prompting speculation the NFL player might need a foot amputation.
The U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at least 2 million people a year become infected by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and at least 23,000 die from these infections.
But most of these worries focus on the ability to treat existing bacterial infections, and ignore the widespread use of antibiotics to prevent infections after surgery or chemotherapy, said Dr Joshua Wolf, an assistant member of the infectious diseases department at St. Jude Children\\\'s Research Hospital in Memphis.


\\\"We know that kids with cancer have extremely high risk of bacterial infection that can be life-threatening. If resistance rates rise, those antibiotics will become less effective,\\\" said Wolf, who wrote an accompanying editorial in the journal. \\\"Surgery will become less safe, and cancer treatment will become more difficult.
To estimate the hazard posed to modern medicine by antibiotic resistance, the researchers reviewed hundreds of clinical trials between 1968 and 2011 that examined the effectiveness of antibiotics in preventing infection after chemotherapy or 10 common surgical procedures.


Those procedures included hip fracture surgery, pacemaker implantation, surgical abortion, spinal surgery, hip replacement, C-section delivery, prostate biopsy, appendectomy, hysterectomy and colon surgery.
Based on their review, the researchers estimate that between 39 percent and 51 percent of surgical site infections and 27 percent of post-chemotherapy infections are caused by bacteria already somewhat resistant to antibiotics.
Using a computer model, the study authors were able to show that with a 10 percent increase in antibiotic resistance, there would be at least 2,100 more infection-related deaths a year and 40,000 more infections following surgery or chemo.
A 70 percent increase in resistance would lead to an additional 15,000 deaths annually and 280,000 infections, they said.
\\\"It\\\'s a large enough number that it should be of concern,\\\" Laxminarayan said.
He added that the number would be even higher if the estimate included all procedures that require antibiotics, which range from simple root canals to organ transplants.
\\\"Antibiotics are the one medication that everyone will get at some point in their life,\\\" Laxminarayan said.
The development of new antibiotics will not help if effective antibiotic controls are not in place, Wolf said.
\\\"Our experience has been that when we introduce a new antibiotic, we see resistance develop fairly quickly,\\\" he said.
Doctors and hospitals can help by limiting use of antibiotics to cases that truly need them, said Dr Henry Chambers, chief of infectious diseases at San Francisco General Hospital.
Also, Chambers would like to see tough mandatory controls put in place. Currently, he said, \\\"in hospitals, pretty much anybody can order an antibiotic.\\\"
Consumers can play a role, too, Wolf added.
\\\"They can say no to antibiotics for coughs and colds. They can ask for an antibiotic alternative, if it\\\'s available. And they can ask for meat that\\\'s antibiotic-free,\\\" Wolf said.

SOURCES: Ramanan Laxminarayan, Ph.D., M.P.H., director, Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy in Washington D.C.; Joshua Wolf, M.B.B.S., assistant member, Infectious Diseases Department, St. Jude Children\\\'s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tenn.; Henry Chambers, M.D., chief, infectious diseases, San Francisco General Hospital

The National Consumers Forum - NATCOF participated in the 3 day celebration for the National Day Show at Roche Caiman. NATCOF was showcasing its 20th anniversary exhibition and giving out information on consumers rights and responsibilities at the stall under CEPS - Citizens Engagement Platform Seychelles. 

Following the invitation of the National Assembly from the opening of their Museum in June 2015 the National Consumers Forum - NATCOF is organising a series of visits for its members. The first group was on Tuesday 21st July 2015. They had the opportunity to be in the gallery during questions time of the Assembly session followed by a guided tour at the museum by Ms Tania Isaac.

Members were very impressed and felt privileged as they would not have been able to do it on their own.

Other groups have been scheduled up to August 2015.

The 20th CI World Congress was held in Brasilia from the 18th to 21st November 2015 and it was co-host by the Ministry of Justice through the National Secretariat on Consumers Affairs (SENACON).

The global event which takes place every four years bring together representatives from consumer movement from over 120 countries and it’s a time for networking and the sharing of ideas and experiences around some of the most pressing issues facing consumers today.

The theme “Unlocking Consumer Power: A new Vision for the Global Market Place.”

The National Consumers Forum (NATCOF) Seychelles was represented at the event by the Mrs Raymonde Course, the Chairperson and Ms Najea Barbe the Administrative Officer.

For more information on the 20th CI World Congress to the link:
http://www.consumersinternational.org/news-and-media/world-congress-2015/
Or visit the Consumers International Website.

Twenty years ago a group of women got together to safeguard the rights of consumers, they wanted to know what rights and responsibilities they were supposed to have when buying from sellers and businesses. They wanted to make sure they were getting value for their money. In 1994 therefore, in the quest for knowledge on the rights and responsibilities of consumers, the National Consumers Forum (NATCOF) was born. Seychellois from all walks of life gradually joined this forum and clearly set out a vision to build a strong consumer force that would advocate on behalf of all consumers in Seychelles and assert themselves to avoid exploitation by traders and others. Within the first five years, NATCOF had its first executive committee and lobbied for the enactment of a Consumers Protection Act.

Educational activities kicked off following a survey on consumer knowledge to identify the gaps in this area. NATCOF volunteers spread out in the communities on Mahe, Praslin and La Digue to mobilise support and recruit members. The launching of its first newsletter, commemorations of World Consumer Rights days followed by the introduction of consumer education in schools in collaboration with the Ministry of Education showed that they meant business. To encourage consumers to make the best buying decisions NATCOF also launched a price watch programme.

In its 20 years of existence NATCOF became a member of Consumers International (CI). Members of the Forum participated in a number of international meetings and workshops either to represent NATCOF or to build capacity of its members and partners. NATCOF also hosted international meetings in Seychelles dealing with consumer issues and welcomed and facilitated the visit of important delegations. It is through these exchanges, that NATCOF today
enjoys excellent collaborations and relations with several regional and international organizations, countries and experts. In the context of local partnership and collaboration NATCOF is represented on a long list of national committees. It was through effective advocacy that the role of NATCOF was recognized and the consumers’ voice was heard when major decisions that concern them were being made.

Consumer education is one of the most important objectives and main accomplishment of NATCOF . Over the years, the Forum has used a variety of mediums to ensure that its members and the public are constantly kept informed of their rights and responsibility, as well as any issues of concern and trends on the market. These mediums include publications, radio and television programs and spots, exhibitions, participation in local public activities and community meetings. It is clear that these activities have helped to successfully establish NATCOF as a credible source of information and education for consumers and it has also created a lot of expectations from the public in that context.

As a watch dog organization NATCOF has registered, investigated and reported on hundreds of complaints from its members and the public on a wide variety of issues ranging from prices, labeling of food products to the quality of products being sold. The secretariat of NATCOF has expanded to several full time
employees as an attempt to discharge the responsibilities of the Forum. Unfortunately financial resources have limited the expansion of a secretariat that would have been ideal to assume the increasing demand services and advise, therefore the Forum has had to prioritize its work based on the most pressing issues at anygiven time.

During the past twenty years the financial and economic landscape of Seychelles has changed dramatically and NATCOF has been adapting its strategy to cater for these changes. Consumer habits, knowledge and expectations have also changed. The recently free market economy is exposing consumers to a wide range of products, competition and aggressive advertising. Twenty years can be a good time to take stock, it can also be a new beginning in a new market environment, but the vision and dream of those women who 20 years ago woke up to do something about the rights and responsibilities of consumers is even more alive and vibrant today.

NATCOF is still representing the consumers regardless of their beliefs, race or social background. It still sees its responsibilities not only towards its members but also towards every consumer and their social well-being.

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To mark World Consumer Rights Day , Consumer International(CI)launched a new Consumer Agenda for Fair Mobile Services.
The agenda sets out the issues that mostly affect consumers, including the need for access to a reliable service, the security of their data and fair contracts
and billing.

CI will submit the Agenda to the World Telecommunications DevelopmentConference, held by the International Telecommunications Union, where we
will be calling on phone regulators and companies to take action to stop these issues undermining the success of this new technology.
Ringing in the changes Can you imagine a world without mobile phones? In just a few years they have become an indispensable part of our lives and can be found in almost every country around the world.
But as the number of consumers using mobile services nears seven billion, what sort of service are they receiving?
Are they being treated fairly? Our 2014 World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) campaign Fix Our Phone Rights! is devoted to tackling the issues that mostly affect consumers of mobile services.

Why Phone Rights are importan

In 2013 it was estimated that 6.8 billion people owned a mobile phone. In 2011 that figure was 6 billion and in 2010 it was 5.4 billion.
At the same time, mobile services have transformed from just being telephones that enable us to talk and text, to mini computers giving us access to information
and services that are crucial to livelihoods and health. They are not just convenient, but increasingly important tools that help to empower citizens and consumers. Having access to mobile connectivity is a necessity.

CI\'s agenda for Phone Rights

CI\'s Consumer Agenda for Fair Mobile Services addresses the issues that affect mobile consumers across the world, and we hope every CI Member and
Supporter can join the call. Some of the issues we want to address are:

  1. Provide consumers with access to an affordable, reliable service. Consumers want to be able to have access to affordable mobile services in order to communicate and to access information. It is only reasonable that they then expect those services to be consistent and of a high quality without drop outs in service.

  2. Provide consumers with fair contracts explained in clear, complete and
    accessible language. Consumers often feel cheated by their mobile provider, either because of unfair contract terms and conditions or because they didn\'t understand what they had signed. Telecom providers should always provide consumers with fair contracts with all relevant information explained clearly so that consumers can exercise their rights to make informed choices.

  3. Provide consumers with fair and transparent billing. Consumers shouldn\'t be billed for services they didn\'t request. We demand fairness and transparency in our bills, and protection from billing fraud.

  4. Provide consumers with security and power over their own information. Telecom providers and regulators alike must protect the personal data that consumers give up in order to use mobile services. Whilst giving consent to use personal data can enhance the experience of using a mobile phone, it can also compromise the consumer\'s right to safety. Consumers must be able to set the terms of how this data is used.

  5. Listen and respond to consumer complaints. Telecom providers should have effective complaints systems and if consumers are not satisfied there should be redress mechanisms to ensure a fair outcome. We must be able to penalise providers for abusive and unjust business practices.