FAO partners Nigerian govt to fight antibiotic resistance in animals

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is collaborating with the Nigerian government to curtail the growing risk of antibiotic resistance in animals.

The global agency announced this on Tuesday in Abuja.

FAO representative in Nigeria, Sufyan Koroma, said this collaboration is through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

Mr Koroma said FAO was supporting the government of Nigeria to develop national guidelines to aid the implementation of the National Action Plan to regulate and ensure the responsible use of antimicrobial-resistant agents in agriculture and animal health.

He said antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial use have become a global concern, threatening humans, animals, plants and the environment.

Mr Koromo said this had prompted world political leaders to call on some agencies of the United Nations to deploy their expertise to assist governments at regional, national and subnational levels to combat the threat.

He said the misuse was often associated with the potential risk of emergence and spread of antimicrobial-resistant microorganisms.

Mr Koroma said Africa used an average of 400 tonnes of antibiotics for agriculture yearly and in livestock and fisheries sector.

He said the total consumption of antimicrobials were projected to reach 105,000 tonnes by the end of the next decade.

Across the world, the antibiotics that farmers use to prevent illness in their animals are losing effectiveness as bacteria develop antibiotic resistance.

Antimicrobial resistance

Antimicrobial resistance, also known as antibiotics resistance, occurs when microorganisms change in ways and render medication used to cure the infections they cause ineffective.

This is the reason why some people complain of persistent infection in spite of using the prescribed antibiotics.

The World Health Organisation estimates that 700,000 people die every year due to AMR and that 24 million people will be pushed into poverty globally by 2030.

Also, by 2050, it is estimated that 10 million people will die annually from drug resistance infection, causing $100 trillion in economic losses if efforts are not drastically scaled up to curtail the misuse of antibiotics globally.

The economic costs are set to increase exponentially through productivity losses, prolonged sickness, reduced labour efficiency, and higher hospital bills.

A growing health crisis

A review of an article in the journal Pharmacy and Therapeutics said the first and obvious cause of antibiotic resistance is the misuse and overuse of these drugs.

Some people mistakenly believe that taking any kind of antibiotics is a solution to many ailments and they use these drugs to treat illnesses such as cold, boil, among others.

However, antibiotics can only target and kill bacteria and thus only treat bacterial infections.

AMR is becoming a threat to health security as they affect not just drug-based therapies, but also other health interventions and ability to control infections –common surgeries or stay in the hospital can become fatal in a post-antimicrobial world.

Towards Solution

FAO is playing a key role in supporting governments at all levels, producers, traders and other stakeholders to move towards the responsible use of antimicrobials in agriculture and helping to reduce antimicrobial resistance in agricultural systems.

“ FAO and other key partners have supported the development of the national action plan( NAP) for AMR through OneHealth approach

“ FAO partnered with FMARD and NCDC to enhance awareness on antibiotics how they should be used and the growing risks of antibiotic resistance,” an NCDC official said.

He said that the minister of health had approved the establishment of AMR national surveillance coordinating body domiciled at the NCDC and it has established AMR surveillance structure for human health component for tremendous progress.

However, he said the surveillance systems for animal health sector does not currently exist in Nigeria, stressing that it became imperative to develop national AMR surveillance systems for animal health components for tracking incidents of AMR.

The Director Veterinary And pest Control Services, FMARD, Olaniran Alabi, said antimicrobial usage in food animals was estimated at 63,000 tons annually in 2015 and projected to 70 per cent in 2030.

Mr Alabi said antimicrobial agents were used in livestock production to ensure good health, productivity and welfare of animals. bBt inappropriate use of substandard and falsified drugs in the livestock sector could lead to the development of antimicrobial resistance.

He said the various classes of antimicrobial agents includeTetracyclines, Fluoroquinolones, Macrolides, Penicillin, Sulfonamides, Polypeptides, Aminoglycosides, Amphenicols, Glycopetides, Pleuromutilins and Nitrofurantoin.

“Another issue of concern is that antibiotics for use in animals are purchased over the counter without restrictions and no legislation for the use of antimicrobials as growth promoters in Nigeria,”

“But NAFDAC has a generic regulation for the use of antibiotics in animal feed,” he said

He appealed to FAO, Fleming Fund Grant, REDISSE project and other sources to support the ministry to strengthen institutional capacities for early AMR detection and trends monitoring in the country.

Also, an Assistant Director of Environment and Sanitation, Rita Okea, said the ministry was in full support and promised to collaborate with FMARD on animal health.


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