A recent medical research study revealed that Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), caused by the increased presence and spreading of genes, is a concern causing panic, given the worldwide adoption of antibiotics as a vital lifesaver. If not addressed, the AMR pose a menace to the long-standing advantage of antibiotics to human living and wellness. Sequel to this, it is imperative for several Nigerian ministries of health and other associated agencies to enlighten people and campaign against it to mitigate the AMR threat, if not eradicated.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when diseases causing microorganisms mutate over time, meaning that they are harder to treat because they can resist the drug’s effects even when it is of adequate composition and used as prescribed, most times in some cases, they are impossible to treat. Misuse of antibiotics, which is interrelated with the rate at which people get access to antibiotics, may contribute to the emergence and transmission of AMR. According to reports, seven out of ten Nigerians get antibiotics from unauthorized sources, while many hospital patients receive excessive doses of antibiotics that might lead to drug-resistant germs.
Drug-resistant infections claim at least 700,000 people annually.
Antibiotics are undeniably important in contemporary treatment, but the threat they pose must be investigated. While antibiotics have saved millions of lives, experts have warned that these benefits are rapidly being undermined as new AMR causing genes arise and spread. Recent data suggest that AMR is a serious problem that requires prompt action. Statistics show that drug-resistant infections claim at least 700,000 people annually, and it is also forecasted that by 2050, drug-resistant microbes could lead to ten million deaths yearly if appropriate measures are not taken.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also reported that four of the fifteen antibiotic-resistant pathogens that pose the greatest threat to human and animal health have been found in Nigeria. The abuse of antibiotics in livestock and fish production is one of numerous contributing factors to the widespread proliferation of AMR. The widespread abuse of antimicrobials, notably in animals raised for human consumption, may be attributed to the infection spread to the animal health industry. Consuming foods containing these antimicrobials residues poses a risk of cancer, allergic reactions, and genetic alterations in people.
Increasing costs of livestock production are associated with AMR.
Furthermore, insufficient infection prevention and control, particularly in health institutions, as well as counterfeit or contaminated pharmaceuticals, all contribute to the spread of disease-causing microorganisms due to a lack of access to clean water and sanitation. Antimicrobial resistance also has socioeconomic effects. Loss of animals and increasing cost of livestock production are also associated to AMR, wreaking havoc on farmers’ bottom lines and having a negative effect on GDP. This scenario underscores the crucial need of initiating proactive action against AMR.
As a preventative step to curb the spread of AMR, there has to be a substantial emphasis on raising global awareness and sensitizing people on the issue of antimicrobial resistance. Such as the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) commemorated this year between November 18 and November 24, tagged “Preventing antimicrobial resistance together.” Understanding the interconnected nature of human, animal, food, and environmental health necessitates a coordinated effort on the part of the government, multi-sector, and other major stakeholders to develop and implement programs, policies, legislation, and research with the goal of improving public health outcomes.
Nigerian gov’t should prioritize implementing stringent regulations.
Nigeria needs to improve its healthcare delivery system by maximizing cooperation and coordination amongst essential sectors, including regulatory authorities, and practitioners in human health, animal husbandry, environmental, and other fields. The government of Nigeria should make it a top priority to implement stringent regulatory mechanisms and support education initiatives to ensure that antimicrobials are used responsibly and sparingly by the people who are entrusted with caring for people, animals, and plants. In addition, phasing out the use of antimicrobials and funding R&D for new approaches to prevent antimicrobial resistance is also crucial.