The World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidio Moeti has said World Antibiotic Awareness Week. is an opportunity, every November, to improve understanding in the African Region and globally of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
Dr. Moeti Stated this in the maiden edition of World Antibiotics Awareness Week, the need to use antibiotics safely hold in Abuja. 20, Nov. 2019.
She said “this year theme is “handle antibiotics with care”, emphasizing the need to use antibiotics safely and responsibly across sectors, from agricultural and livestock production to public health, and to mitigate the impacts of antimicrobial pollution contaminating water and soil.
Represented by the officer in charge for the WHO country office in Nigeria, Dr. Clement Lugala Peter, Moeti said, AMR endangers health security and our progress towards universal health coverage, by threatening to reverse medical advances of the twentieth century.
It reduces our ability to treat diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhoea and cancer. AMR also threatens our ability to conduct surgeries and to care for premature babies.
This silent pandemic is already leading to 700 000 deaths worldwide each year – left unchecked, AMR could cause up to 10 million deaths annually by 2050.
People living in developing countries and those in fragile contexts, affected by conflict and violence, are particularly vulnerable.
We are seeing high resistance to common pathogens such as 98% fluoroquinolone-resistant Escherichia coli, meaning there are limited treatment options for people that get this infection.
Key challenges in combatting AMR include: weak regulatory systems facilitating proliferation of substandard and falsified medicines; limited implementation of standards for clean water, sanitation and hygiene, and to prevent and control infections; and a lack of reliable data.
WHO and partners are working with countries to address these challenges by implementing “One Health” national action plans.
These plans bring together different sectors and disciplines to build stronger regulatory systems, to improve surveillance, and to develop policies to promote appropriate antibiotic use among humans, and in livestock and agriculture.
I call on the private sector to invest in research and development of new antibiotics.
The agricultural industry can reduce the use of antibiotics in livestock farming.
Working together, and taking a holistic approach to safeguarding antibiotics, will help to ensure that we can all look forward to a healthier future.