The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) today joined the global community to commemorate the 2020 World Antibiotics Awareness Week (WAAW) to further strengthen commitment to mitigating the threat posed by Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) to peoples’ health and well-being.
Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General of NCDC, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Wednesday in Abuja that since 2017, NCDC as the National AMR Coordinating body, had worked closely with states, relevant stakeholders in the Ministries of Health, Agriculture and Environment to strengthen surveillance for AMR and raise awareness on this global public health threat.
In 2015, the World Health Organization set aside the month of November to raise awareness on AMR, which occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites resist the effects of medicines or antimicrobials, making common infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.
Ihekweazu said the NCDC, in collaboration with Ministries, Departments and Agencies in the animal and human health sectors, with support from partners, are commemorating the WAAW between Nov. 18-24 themed ‘’Antimicrobials: Handle with care’’.
“The goal is to raise awareness on the global threat of AMR and promote responsible antimicrobial usage amongst healthcare professionals in the animal, human and environment sectors as well as the public,” he said.
He disclosed that several activities had been outlined by the agency over the course of the week with the Federal Ministries of Agriculture and Environment, in collaboration with partners, to be held at both national and state level.
The NCDC boss cited the activities to include: a Webinar on operationalizing One Health interventions on antimicrobial stewardship in Nigeria, participation at the international webinar on antimicrobial resistance awareness, organized by Shoolini University, India, a virtual engagement with livestock farmers, Interactive discussions with Commissioners of Health, Agriculture, and Environment, training with Fleming Fund Fellows on Antimicrobial resistance and Antimicrobial use surveillance.
Other activities are: Interactive discussion with State Epidemiologists, State Veterinary Epidemiology officers and State Environmental officers, a virtual meeting to establish a Community of Practice for AMR, and training of journalists on AMR awareness, he said.
According to him, In the last four years, Nigeria had achieved significant milestones in improving AMR surveillance and increasing awareness on the threat, including constitution of a National Antimicrobial Resistance Coordination Committee (NARCC) and Technical Working Group (TWG), a functional surveillance network with sentinel sites and reference, conduct of a Situation Analysis by laboratories in the human and animal sector, as well as development of a National Action Plan.
“In addition, the NCDC National Reference Laboratory and other laboratories within the national network are enrolled on the Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System (GLASS). Through this, and other systems in place, Nigeria is contributing to the global response to AMR,” he said.
Ihekweazu stressed that because AMR had become an increasingly serious threat to global public health that requires action across various government sectors and the society, Nigerians should avoid the overuse and misuse of antimicrobials, in addition to avoiding heavy use of antibiotics in food animal production.
He stressed that the National AMR secretariat at the NCDC will continue to play a vital role in connecting relevant stakeholders to implement the National Action Plan on AMR. (NAN)