About 10 million people are at risk of dying annually from Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) associated causes by 2050 in Africa and Asia if no interventions are put in place to combat AMR at global, regional and national levels.
Antimicrobial resistance occurs when antibiotics and other medicines used to prevent and treat infections cease to be effective including for diseases such as malaria, TB, HIV and medical procedures such as organ transplants, cancer treatment and cesarean sections.
Health Minister Dr. Chitalu Chilufya says this is a global issue that needs urgent attention from all sectors in the country.
Speaking when he officiated at the Integrated Surveillance Framework for Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) conference in Lusaka, Dr. Chilufya has recognized that prudent use of antimicrobials in both human and animal health is crucial in preserving the effectiveness of both existing and new antibiotics.
Dr. Chilufya has reiterated government’s commitment to develop the WHO Global Framework for Development and Stewardship to combat Antimicrobial Resistance.
He adds that it its quest to ensure public health security, Ministry of Health and other line Ministries formulated a multisectoral national action plan on AMR which has been included in Zambia’s National Health Strategic Plan 2017-2021.
Speaking at the same event, World Health Organisation Country Representative Nathan Batyaita has called for stronger actions and economic incentives to support the development of new antimicrobials, vaccines and diagnostics.
And Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Representative, Gorge Okechie has expressed concern that antimicrobials are sometimes misused excessively, thereby increasing the risk of emergence and spread of Antimicrobial resistant micro-organisms which can no longer respond to available treatments.
In 2016, the Food and Agriculture Organization published an ‘Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) 2016-2020’ that aims to help countries develop strategies to minimize the emergence and spread of AMR in their food chains.