World Antibiotics Awareness Week Launched

From right: Dr Owen Kaluwa, Kinsley Aboagye Gyedu and an official of the Ministry of Health

The Deputy Minister of Health, Kinsley Aboagye Gyedu, has called on all stakeholders to join the action against Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR), the situation where bacteria change in response to the use of certain medicines so that they are no longer effective.

“The fight involves everyone, including health workers patients, farmers, veterinarians, industry, development partners and government,” he said.

Speaking at the launch of the World Antibiotics Awareness Week (WAAW) in Accra, the deputy minister mentioned that without urgent action on the part of stakeholders, the country is likely to head towards a post-antibiotic era in which common infections and minor injuries can once again kill.

He said the problem of antimicrobial resistance has been attributed to the misuse of antimicrobial drugs which provide selective pressure, favouring the emergence of resistance strains.

“A growing list of infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, blood poising, gonorrhoea and food borne disease are becoming harder and sometimes impossible to treat as antibiotics become less effective,” he stated.

Mr Gyedu explained that such an occurrence poses a great threat to the country’s attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) since anti-microbial resistance would erode all the gains of the targets and goals.

He pointed out that the country has, over the years, acted to address the situation through the development of the National Anti-microbial Resistance Policy accompanied by a national action plan modeled after the Global Action Plan to fight AMR.

Dr Owen Kaluwa, World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative, in his remarks, said although data on the burden of anti-microbial is very scanty in the African region, indications show the trend in increasing.

He, thus, added that as the theme for the week, citizens should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional before taking antibiotics.

This, he said, would help address effectively the issue of anti-microbial resistance in Ghana and Africa at large.

Dr Bashiru Boi Kikimoto, Representative of the World Organisation for Animal Health, (OiE) and Head of the Public Health and Food Safety Division of Veterinary Service, called on farmers, especially those engaged in animal rearing, to be cautious of the use of antibiotic.

He also pledged the commitment of OiE and the Veterinary Service to the fight against AMR in the country.

As part of activities this week, there will be an open forum toady at the conference room of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), where panelists will be discussing the topic ‘Preventing AMR- A Collective Responsibility’ to throw more light on the role that relevant stakeholders can play in preventing AMR.

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri