The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has warned against excessive use of antibiotics, saying the practice can end up killing good bacteria and creating resistance to antimicrobials medicines.
The Director General of NCDC, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, gave the warning on Monday in Abuja, at a Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) policy dialogue
to commemorate World Antibiotics Awareness Week (WAAW), annually held from Nov. 18 to Nov. 24.
The National AMR Secretariat organised a one-day policy dialogue with the theme “AMR Response and Financing in Nigeria: Challenges and Opportunities’’ as part of the National Antimicrobial Awareness Week (NAAW) activities.
The dialogue is to foster discussions on new opportunities to finance the AMR National Action Plan and evaluate One Health Response to AMR and funding.
The NCDC boss, who was represented by Dr Chinwe Ochu, Public Health Specialist and NCDC’s Director, Prevention Programmes and Knowledge Management, said “antimicrobials save countless lives around the world every day.
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“Antimicrobials, which include antibiotics, are life-saving medicines that are used daily to treat – and prevent – infections from microorganisms.’’
“They are responsible for huge progress in medicine, allowing us to prevent and treat diseases and infections. But our persistent misuse of antimicrobials puts this in danger.’’
Adetifa said that “public education means that Nigerians are probably getting better at realising that antibiotics should be used sparingly, while official warnings continue to emphasise that antibiotic resistance has become one of the biggest threats to health globally.’’
The World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative for Nigeria, Dr Walter Mulombo, said `antibiotic resistance is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world.
Without urgent action, we are heading for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries can once again kill.”
“To put this in context, a future without effective antibiotics would mean that commonplace medical surgeries such as hip replacement, cancer chemotherapy, organ transplant and the treatment of pre-term babies, would be far less safe.
“It is a terrifying thought. Predictions suggest that if we don’t radically change how antibiotics are used, antimicrobial resistance will kill more people by mid-century than other killer diseases of today.’’
Mulombo added that worldwide, about two-thirds of all antibiotics were used in farm animals, not people, adding that “much of this use is routine and enables the keeping of farmed animals in cruel, cramped and stressful conditions where diseases spread easily.’’
The World Health Assembly adopted a Global Action Plan on AMR and aligned to this effort, member states were also urged to develop their own National Action Plans.
On Nov. 26, 2016, the Nigerian Minister for Health approved the establishment of National AMR Coordinating Body at the NCDC.
The NCDC then led the development of the National Action Plan to tackle AMR that adopted a “One-Health’’ approach to indicate the country’s commitment to tackling the threat of AMR.
The One Health approach is a multi-pronged strategy that acknowledges the contribution of human, animal and environmental factors to AMR.
The centre enrolled in the Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System (GLASS) and also enrolled 21 laboratories across the human, animal and environment sectors in its National AMR surveillance system.
With support from the UK Government through Fleming Fund, the World Health Organisation, Food and Agriculture Organisation and other partners, Nigeria continues to strengthen surveillance for AMR and antimicrobial use in the human, animal and environment health sectors. (NAN)