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Antimicrobial resistance may kill 10m yearly by 2025, says minister

By Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze and Ernest Nzor, Abuja
19 November 2021   |   4:25 am
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, has warned that Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is the greatest threat to global health.

Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, has warned that Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is the greatest threat to global health.

AMR occurs when disease agents such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites no longer respond to the antimicrobials they once were susceptible to.

The minister made the observation during flag off of the 2021 World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, themed: ‘Spread Awareness, Stop Resistance’, in Abuja, yesterday.

He noted: “This phenomenon is, today, considered, one of the most potent threats to public health in all parts of the world, as it drastically limits our ability to effectively treat common infections.

“It has been projected that by 2050, AMR could account for up to 10 million deaths yearly. AMR can occur naturally due to changes in the genes of organisms over time. It is, however, worsened by inappropriate use of antibiotics such as misuse, underuse and overuse.”

He said some of the factors that contribute to the emergence of resistant pathogens are over-prescription by health workers, self-medication and lack of adherence to treatment instructions. Others are non-compliance with recommended biosecurity practices on farms, lack of awareness and knowledge on antimicrobial resistance, absence of regulatory legislation and lack of enforcement of legislation.

In her remarks, Deputy Project Director, Breakthrough Action-Nigeria, Dr. Olayinka Umar-Farouk, said: “With our expertise in risk communication and social behaviour change, we are happy to support Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and other partners in celebrating the 2021 AMR Week. Antimicrobial Resistance is a menace we must all fight. This week will be used to draw attention to how we can all play a part.”

Also, Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, noted that the AMR to antibiotics and other drugs is one of the most significant threats to global health, food security and development.

She added: “Antibiotics should be used only when prescribed by a certified health worker. Individuals should always take full prescription. Never use left-over antibiotics and never share antibiotics with others.”