This year’s World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) was launched in Accra on Tuesday by the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu.
Dubbed, “The future of antibiotics depends on all of us,” it aims at creating awareness on the emergence and increase spread of Anti Microbial Resistance (AMR) for health stakeholders, policy makers and individuals to employ measures to curb the resistance.
Antibiotics are medicines used to treat bacterial infections among humans and animals.
Launching the awareness week, Mr Agyeman-Manu called on stakeholders in health to strengthen policies governing the supply of antibiotics in the country, adding that it would help curb the misuse and abuse of antibiotics among humans and livestock to prolong lives.
Mr Agyeman-Manu said the increase of AMR had been a major public health concern which had affected the economic and social development of the country.
He said, “antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria changes and becomes resistant to the antibiotics used to treat infections,” adding “without urgent action, antibiotics that are useful today may no longer be useful in the near future.”
According to him, incorrect medical indications, inappropriate self-medication, non-adherence to therapy, over-the-counter sale of antibiotics from unlicensed medicines and unapproved outlets were all practices that had increased antibiotic resistance, hence the call for a change.
Mr Agyemang-Manu advised individuals to adopt good sanitation practices and to seek advice from qualified health practitioners before using antibiotics.
The Veterinary Officer and District Director at Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Dr Kofi Afakye, observed that the overuse and misuse of antibiotics in livestock, aquaculture and crops were key factors contributing to antibiotic resistance and its spread into the environment, food chain and humans.
He appealed to farmers to stem out antibiotic resistance to reduce the ability to treat diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhoea and cancer.
Dr Bashiru Boi Kikimoto, the AMR and Animal Health Expert for World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), noted that antibiotic resistance had caused death of humans and animals globally, and regretted the rate the substance was being abused in the health sector and in the rearing of animals.
“About 60 per cent of celphalosporins are now used in hospitals, while flouroquinolones, sulphanomides, tetracyclines are flooding the poultry and aquaculture development in the country,” Dr Kikimoto said.
He explained that AMR genes spread from fish, meat, eggs and vegetables into the human population and expressed readiness of his outfit to collectively work with FAO to embark on development of farmer field school curriculum to tackle antimicrobial use through good husbandry practices.
BY JOYCELINE NATALLY CUDJOE