ANTIMICROBIAL Resistance (AMR) poses a significant threat to human and animal health in the African region, Zimbabwe included and needs to be addressed collectively and comprehensively, World Health Organisation (WHO Zimbabwe) Health Systems Strengthening Advisor, Dr Stanley Midzi has said.
By Michael Gwarisa
Speaking in a virtual meeting recently, Dr Midzi said recent studies on Antimicrobial Resistance projected that if nothing serious is done now, AMR will lead to 10 million deaths per year (from current 700 000, more than cancer) by the year 2050 and this will result in in reduction of 2 -3.5 percent in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Urgent and coordinated action is required at all levels to ensure the preservation of these life-saving drugs for future generations. AMR is everyone business: a multi-sectorial problem which demands multi-sectorial collaboration and coordination between human health, animal health, food and agriculture, environment sectors, private sectors and communities.
“Antibiotic resistance is a global health crisis that should be addressed with the utmost urgency. AMR is everyone business: a multi-sectorial problem which demands multi-sectorial collaboration and coordination between human health, animal health, food and agriculture, environment sectors, private sectors and communities,” said Dr Midzi.
He added that the sale of antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines without prescription was widespread in Zimbabwe and other African countries.
He also said a survey was conducted and concluded that unregularized sale of medicines has led to a spike in drug resistance as there is unregulated consumption and use of antibiotics.
“The survey was completed by 133 countries in 2013-2014 and it indicated that few countries (34 out of 133) have a comprehensive national plan to fight resistance to antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines.
“Monitoring was infrequent. In many countries there was poor laboratory capacity, infrastructure and data management systems required to support effective surveillance. Many countries lack standard treatment guidelines, increasing the potential for overuse of antimicrobial medicines by the public and medical professionals. There is also lack of programmes to prevent and control hospital-acquired infections.”
He added that public awareness is low in all regions, with many people still believing that antibiotics are effective against viral infections.
Countries who participated in the survey in the survey include Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Gambia, Ghana, South Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Eight of the 47 member States in the region participated in the survey. All of the eight countries in the region stated that resistance to treatments for malaria and Tuberculosis were their greatest challenges.