BY SUKUOLUHLE NDLOVU
MASVINGO CITY– There is need for urgent multisectoral action to fight Antimicrobial resistance as it is becoming a global health and development threat.
This was said by the UN Resident Coordinator, Francesca Eldermann as the world commemorates the World AMR Awareness Week (WAAW 2023) which ends today.
This year it was being celebrated under the theme, “Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together” which emphasizes the need in urgency of multisectoral action Under the One Health Approach to safeguard the effectiveness of antimicrobial medicines.
In 2016, AMR was declared a global crisis with significant global health and food security implications and was declared one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity.
Eldermann stated that drug resistant infections pose the greatest threat to health.
“Worldwide antibiotic resistance threatens our progress in healthcare, food production, and ultimately life expectancy. Antibiotic resistance pathogens have been found in all regions of the world. Modern travel of people, animals and goods means antibiotic- resistance pathogens can easily spread across boarders and continents,” she said.
There is need to commit to new targets and practical steps to address AMR and for this to be a success the UN coordinator called for action.
“Increase and maintain domestic funding to implement AMR National Actions Plans, support the development of resilient health systems by striking a balance between addressing AMR and maintaining access to vital medicines. Strengthen surveillance and laboratory capacity for prevention, detention and response to AMR through existing global and regional strategies, polices and guidelines.
Implement nationwide targeted AMR awareness campaigns involving various sectors to promote capacity building for healthcare professionals and foster behavioral change among health workers and the community,” Eldermann noted.
A number of factors leading to the development of drug resistant have been identified.
“The misuse and overuse of antimicrobials have been identified to be the main drivers in developing dug resistant pathogens. Also lack of clean water and sanitation and inadequate infection prevention and control promotes the spread of microbes, some of which can be resistant to antimicrobial treatment.
“The cost of AMR to the economy is significant. In addition to death and disability, prolonged illness results in longer hospital stays, the need for more expensive medicines and financial challenges for those impacted,” the UN Coordinator said.
It was also stated without effective antimicrobials, the success of modern medicine in treating infections including during major surgery and cancer chemotherapy would be at increased risk.
In 2019 alone, AMR infections claimed 4.9million lives worldwide surpassing the combined death toll from HIV/AIDS and malaria. With 99 deaths per 100,000 people sub –Saharan African countries shoulder the heaviest burden of AMR associated mortality.