President Akufo-Addo yesterday launched the Anti-microbial Resistance Policy and National Action Plan (AMRP), a policy framework and national plan, in Accra that seeks to find a lasting solution to the cure of infectious diseases.
Anti-microbial is an agent that kills micro-organisms or stops their growth.
Even though anti-microbials have been used to prevent and treat microbial infections for several years, the president indicated that their resistance is threatening to derail the significant achievements made in the field of infectious disease therapy, animal and crop health, the environment, and our fisheries and aqua culture.
As co-Chair of the United Nations Advocates Group of Eminent Persons on the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, the president stressed that the phenomenon of anti-microbial resistance represents a grave threat to the realisation of SDG 3, which demands that countries ensure healthy lives and the promotion of well-being for all at all ages.
“Simple treatment for infections such as pneumonia or gonorrhoea can no longer be possible because of anti-microbial resistance,” he stated.
Meanwhile, he explained that the world is already grappling with the drug resistant in the dreaded tuberculosis, which is threatening to undo decades of progress made in the treatment and control of the disease.
Apart from that, the president pointed out that “our food supply chain is also not being spared because anti-biotic resistance is a major challenge to animal husbandry, fisheries and aquaculture sectors as Ghanaian research has shown. Our environment is also at risk because of the effluents from industry that keep polluting the soil and water bodies.”
He, therefore, mentioned that “it is, thus, important that we recognise this and the current steps we have taken to deal with the resistance phenomenon; steps which I am confident are in the right direction.”
“I am, therefore, tasking the SDG secretariat to ensure their smooth and hitch-free implementation. Additionally, the minister for Health and the Attorney General are to take the necessary steps to move some of the policy issues into legislation to ensure our public health safety. Key among these are policies on the environment and waste, rational use of medicines, crop and animal production and residues,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo highlighted that he remains fortified in his belief that Ghana is well-positioned to join in the global effort to fight anti-microbial resistance.
“It is my hope that the committed implementation of the interventions outlined in these documents will guarantee the efficacy, as well as ensure the responsible use of antimicrobials, and, thereby, preserve them for future generations. We are mobilising domestic resources to deal with this menace, a mobilisation which is an integral part of our vision of creating a ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’,” he added.
He, therefore, challenged all industry players to come out with innovations and formulations of anti-microbials, vaccines and diagnostics as the country seeks to combat the resistance phenomenon.
“I also charge the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Implementation of the SDGs to incorporate the various indicators for anti-microbial resistance into their work stream, and ensure that the achievement of SDG 3 by the target date of 2030 is realised,” he emphasised.
President Akufo-Addo has since urged all Ghanaians to join hands in the implementation of the anti-microbial resistance plan, stressing that “together, we can effect change in the handling and use of anti-microbials.”
By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent