FG Outlines Measures to Control Menace of Antimicrobial Resistance

•NCDC says four deadly antibiotic-resistant pathogens in Nigeria

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The federal government has listed steps being taken to deal with the health challenges posed by antimicrobial resistance, which it said directly causes 1.27 million deaths and is associated with an additional 3.7 million deaths globally.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are 15 priority antibiotic-resistant pathogens causing the greatest threat to human and animal health and four of them have been detected in Nigeria.

It said that low- and middle-income countries, including Nigeria bear the highest burden of the health problem, accounting for nearly 90 per cent of the direct death toll.

Speaking at an event to commemorate World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) yesterday, the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) Dr. Ifedayo Adetiba said that since 2017, Nigeria has made strides in its response to the situation.

He said the centre in collaboration with the tripartite sectors, has now set up an antimicrobial resistance surveillance network, antimicrobial stewardship, and awareness programmes across the country, creating awareness of the situation among healthcare professionals, farmers, and the public.

 “Every year, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) directly causes 1.27 million deaths and is associated with an additional 3.7 million deaths. Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) including Nigeria bear the brunt of this burden, accounting for nearly 90 per cent of the direct death toll.

“Sadly, over 99.5 per cent of AMR–related deaths are among children under five. Recent studies show that more people die directly from AMR than from HIV/AIDS, malaria, or any one form of cancer other than lung cancer.

” In Africa, the burden of death attributed to AMR was highest in western Africa, at 27.3 deaths per 100,000 making it a super region for death due to drug-resistant pathogens,” Adetiba said.

The NDDC stated that the impact of AMR on the economy, health systems and the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is enormous.

“Antimicrobial agents are essential for food security and the global consumption of antimicrobials is projected to rise by 70 per cent by 2030 and will affect sustainable food production systems if nothing is done.

“Fulfilling its commitment as agreed to at the Third Global High-level Ministerial Conference on AMR in Muscat, Oman, Nigeria is currently finalising its second National Action Plan for AMR (NAP 2.0) in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders to determine required finances, applicable milestones, and national targets,” it added.

In addition, NCDC said the centre has deployed a national Community of Practice for stakeholders in the AMR response space.

Other interventions, it said, include: expanded AMR surveillance sites in Nigeria in the human, animal and environmental sectors and establishment of a national antimicrobial stewardship programme.

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