The Government of Zambia says it’s committed to tackling antimicrobial resistance and will work towards the development of a national policy in line with the recommendations of the Global Action Plan, for infection prevention and control activities in health systems.
Addressing the United Nations High-Level meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) at UN HQ in New York on Wednesday, Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Dr Peter Mwaba said adequately financed national policies with a multi-sectoral input were essential to addressing antimicrobial resistance and to ensure sustainable implementation of plans and strategies.
According to the statement released to the media by Zambia’s First Secretary for Press and Public Relations
Permanent Mission to the United Nations, Chibaula Silwamba, the Permanent Secretary noted that the world was facing challenges in the control of older pathogens and the re-emerging of newer ones. “We have all witnessed the devastation caused by the Ebola virus and more recently the Yellow fever and ZIKA viruses,” he said.
Dr Mwaba said the increased use of antimicrobial agents in humans, animals or plants is closely linked to the emergence of resistance.
“Although Antimicrobial resistance is now widely recognized as an emerging problem, not all countries Zambia inclusive have comprehensive national policies to tackle this challenge,” Dr Mwaba said. “This is exacerbated by limited financial and technical resources for effective implementation of the response mechanisms. We must ensure the development of comprehensive national plans, including building the laboratory capacity especially for low and middle income countries.”
He said the overuse, improper use or self-medication of antimicrobials increases the development and spread of resistance.
He said this was particularly true in countries were rational use of drugs and monitoring systems are not in place.
Dr Mwaba said there was need for urgent and coordinated action by all stakeholders as the cost of treatment was likely to increase beyond the majority of the countries.
“The Zambian Government commends the global community for reaffirming its commitment towards early and accelerated implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular goal number three which calls for an end to communicable diseases and epidemics such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Ebola,” Dr Mwaba said. “Addressing the growing challenge of antimicrobial resistance is critical, especially for low and middle income countries.”
The Permanent Secretary said Zambia welcomed the adoption by consensus of the Political Declaration on Antimicrobial Resistance, which has among others, reaffirmed the World Health Assembly Global Action Plan (GAP), as a blueprint for tackling antimicrobial resistance.
Dr Mwaba said the World Health Organization Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance has a fundamental role to play in coordinating, collaborating and offering technical assistance towards the development of national and regional action plans and programmes.
The primary objective of the meeting was to summon and maintain strong national, regional and international political commitment in addressing antimicrobial resistance comprehensively and multi-sectorally, and to increase and improve awareness of antimicrobial resistance.