The Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) has called for collaborated efforts across all sectors in the fight against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).
ZNPHI Director General, Roma Chilengi disclosed that Antimicrobial Resistance remains a threat to humans, animals, plants and the environment.
Professor Chilengi explained that irrational and overuse of antibiotics in different sectors have led to the emergence of extended AMR and accumulation of residual antibiotics in the environment.
He said this in Lusaka after an awareness walk, in light of the World Antimicrobial awareness week that runs from November 18 to November 24, 2022 and carrying the theme ‘preventing Antimicrobial Resistance together.
Prof Chilengi cited various studies that show the Sub-Saharan bears the heaviest burden of resistant bacterial infections, adding that Zambia has not been spared with confirmed incidences in a few selected provinces.
He therefore stressed that the fight against AMR is a global effort and must be addressed through a one health approach.
He indicated that the event is a global campaign to accelerate the key objective of improving awareness and understanding of AMR through effective communication, education and training.
“This week-long event not only raises awareness on the effects of AMR but also emphasizes on the importance AMR containment policies such as strengthening antimicrobial stewardship programmes that address rational use of antibiotics and formulate antimicrobial policies in hospitals,” Prof Chilengi stated.
And World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative Nathan Bakyaita cited the 2019 report that disclosed about 4.95 million deaths globally were attributed to drug resistance bacterial infections 1.27 million directly related to AMR.
Dr Bakyaita issued a call to action for governments of African member states to commit investment towards sustainable local financing and implementation of AMR national action plans focused on infection prevention and control.
Dr Bakyaita added the need to build resilient health systems by maintaining the critical balance between addressing AMR and access to vital medicines.
“Remember, misuse and abuse of antimicrobials puts us all at risk, so let us unite to prevent Antimicrobial Resistance together,” Dr Bakyaita recited.
This was in a statement issued on Dr Bakyaita’s behalf by WHO National Professional Officer Freddie Masaninga.
Meanwhile, Veterinary Services Director, Geoffrey Muuka said the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock is encouraging that antibiotics are only given to animals under Veterinary supervision.
Dr Muuka explained that antibiotics should not be used for the promotion of animal growth or prevent diseases in healthy animals and fish.
He noted that this among other good practices will help keep the medicine cabinet protected for now and for the future, as well as help control the spread of antibiotics resistance.