The Food and Agriculture Organisation, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, has launched the ‘World Antimicrobial Awareness Week’ (WAAW) to increase awareness of the misuse and abuse of antibiotics in the country.
The event, organized in partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO), seeks to encourage best practices among the public, health workers and policymakers to avoid further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.
Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is the situation where the bacteria causing disease has adapted to the antibiotic to the extent that it is not harmed by the medicine that should otherwise, kill it.
The awareness week is being held under the theme: “The Future of Antibiotics Depends on all of us.”
The week-long celebration featured various activities such as the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana and Civil Society Organisation awareness campaign, a community durbar, public education on misuse and abuse of antibiotics, health screening, among others.
Dr Neema Rusibamayila Kimambo, the Acting Country Representation of WHO, speaking at the event, said AMR is a serious issue that needed to be addressed as it poses danger to health security and progress with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) towards Universal Health Coverage.
She said the silent pandemic is already leading to 700,000 deaths worldwide each year, which left unchecked, AMR could cause up to 10 million deaths annually by 2050.
“We are seeing high resistance to common pathogens such as 98 per cent fluoroquinolone, Escherichia coli, meaning, there are limited treatment options for people that get this infection,” she stated
Dr Kimambo said weak regulatory systems facilitating the proliferation of substandard and falsified medicines, limited implementation of standards for clean water, environmental sanitation and hygiene, poor infection prevention and control practices as well as a lack of reliable surveillance data are the challenges in combating AMR.
She said stakeholders working together and taking a holistic approach to safeguarding antimicrobials would help ensure a healthier future.
Ms Jocelyn G. Brown Hall, the Deputy Regional Representative of the FAO, in a speech, read on her behalf, said the FAO is collaborating with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to conduct a study on the behavior change of farmers in antimicrobial use in poultry production in Dormaa Ahenkro.
She said strategies would be in place to promote antimicrobial stewardship.
Mr Kweku Agyemang Manu, the Minister of Health, said efforts at controlling and containing resistance has been designed from a broad perspective within the framework of regional and global; networking to address the problem.
This, he said, calls for the collaboration of every agency, sector, stakeholders, health practitioners, farmers, veterinarians, policymakers, the media, and the public to play their effective roles in addressing the situation.
Dr Anthony Adofo Ofosu, the Deputy Director-General of the Ghana Health Services, commended the organizers for the launch, adding that the irrational use of antibiotics was leading to the development of antimicrobial resistance.
He said the GHS is implementing activities like the peer review to reinforce clinical governance at all levels of care, however, there is the need for health managers and professionals to ensure infection prevention and control in the health facilities.
“We need to commit ourselves and adopt measures to ensure a good compliance with basic hand hygiene protocols in our health facilities when leaving the bedside of every patient and before touching the next patient,” he stated .