Ghana marks World Microbiome Day, today

Ghana will today join 12 other countries across the world to mark this year’s World Microbiome Day (WMD).

A microbiome is the community of micro-organisms living together in a particular habitat. Humans, animals and plants have their own unique microbiomes.

Functions of the human microbiome include development of immunity, defence against pathogens, host nutrition including production of short-chain fatty acids important in host energy metabolism, synthesis of vitamins and fat storage as well as an influence on human behaviour, making it an essential organ of the body without which humans would not function correctly.

The day, which is in its second anniversary, was to showcase the diverse worlds of microbiomes and encourage public dialogue on their importance to human, animals and environmental health.

Championed in Ghana by Gut Microbiome International Trust (G-MitGhana), the celebration is on the theme, ‘Bacterial resistance to antibiotics.’

The celebration was instituted following studies by American scientists that about 90 per cent of the bacteria in the human body build the immune system against diseases while only 10 per cent were pathogens responsible for causing various diseases.

This was corroborated by a report by the United Nations Ad hoc Interagency Coordinating Group on Antimicrobial Resistance in April this year which stated that drug-resistant diseases could cause 10 million deaths each year by 2050 if steps were not taken to avert a potentially disastrous drug-resistance crisis.

Mr Nyaaba-Aweeba Azongo, President of G-Mit Ghana, in an encounter with the media in Accra, said the event was to increase awareness and understanding of antibiotic resistance and its effect on microbiomes and humans.

Referring to the study and report, he said that the vast majority of bacteria do not cause any harm but were rather essential to human life.

“Taking good care of good bacteria/microbes is as important as destroying the bad bacteria. For years, bacteria were thought of as organisms to avoid. It turns out our bodies are already loaded with trillions of them. They help to digest food and play important role in our overall well-being,” he added.

He reiterated the importance of education on the microbiome and the vital role it plays in the health of humans in the wake of anti-microbial resistance scourge.

The G-MitGhana, he said, would engage all relevant institutions including the Ghana Health Service and the media to intensify education about gut microbiome health to protect the health of Ghanaians.

BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS

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