By Princess-Ekwi Ajide, Abuja
August 28 (Newshour.com.ng) – The World Health Organization, WHO, says around 10 million people around the world including 4.1 million in the African region are projected to die of antimicrobial resistance by 2050.
WHO’s Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, disclosed this at the 73rd session of WHO Regional Committee for Africa in Gaborone, Botswana.
On this backdrop, African Health Ministers endorsed a regional action plan to ramp up the high burden in sub-Saharan Africa as part of a global strategy to eliminate antimicrobial resistance estimated to have directly contributed to 1.27 million deaths in 2019.
Endorsement of antimicrobial resistance by all state actors, according to Dr. Moeti, will address the poor implementation of national action plans in the African region.
Dr. Moeti, noted that over the years, lack of political commitment, has heightened the burden of antimicrobial resistance.
She counted inadequate antimicrobial surveillance, insufficient laboratory capacity to ensure optimized antimicrobials, awareness and understanding of the threat posed by antimicrobial resistance, and poor infection prevention and control measures, including inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene services, as major contributors of high antimicrobial burden on the region.
According to Dr. Moeti, the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance requires scaled-up and sustained action by all including governments, individuals and stakeholders across all sectors.
She said the commitment made by the countries came at a crucial time, promising that WHO will continue to support countries to reinforce measures for effective response against antimicrobial resistance.
Dr. Moeti, urged countries to have monitoring and evaluation system, to aid national awareness programmes, and ensure that they enroll in the global portal for a standardized approach to data collection, analysis, interpretation, and sharing, while implementing measures to optimize the responsible use of antimicrobials in healthcare facilities by 2030.
Antimicrobial resistance occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines, making infections harder to treat.
The new resolution adopted is expected to strengthen government coordination against antimicrobial resistance, improve awareness and understanding, step up surveillance on antimicrobial use, and reinforce applicable national regulations and laws.
By the year 2030, it is envisaged that all countries would have had a functional “One Health” approach encompassing human, animal, and environmental health on priority antimicrobial resistance actions.