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‘Signing of NCDC bill will tackle disease outbreaks in Nigeria’

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Chief Executive Officer, NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekwazu

• Antibiotics resistance kills 700,000 people, says WHO
• Misuse causes global health security

President Muhammadu Buhari’s signing of the bill to establish the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), will enhance the country’s readiness to tackle disease outbreaks.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NCDC and a consultant epidemiologist, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, disclosed this to The Guardian yesterday.

He said by establishing the centre as Nigeria’s national public health institute, the Federal Government has shown its commitment to protecting the public from health threat of global emerging infectious diseases.

He said the NCDC was established in 2011 following the challenges of public health emergencies, and to enhance Nigeria’s preparedness and response to epidemics through prevention, detection, and control of communicable diseases.

Its core mandate is to detect, investigate, prevent and control diseases of national and international public health importance.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday, said antibiotic resistance is a growing threat to global health and as the result of infection with drug-resistant bacteria, from which an estimated 700 000 people die each year worldwide.

The organisation, in a statement, yesterday, said many of the same microbes (example bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites) affect both animals and humans via the environment they share, as 60 per cent of all human diseases originate from animals.

WHO Regional Director for Europe, Dr. Zsuzsanna Jakab, said: “Human, animal and environment health are all equally responsible for the correct use of antimicrobials and to avert the threat of antimicrobial resistance.

Director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Andrea Ammon, said: “With 33 000 deaths each year as a consequence of an infection due to bacteria resistant to antibiotics and €1 billion in annual health-care expenditure, we need to ensure that antibiotics are used prudently.”

Also, WHO warned that the global health security would be at stake when antibiotics are misused.

It added that the reason for rising antibiotic resistance includes over prescription, misuse by patients who don’t follow the advice of healthcare professionals, overuse in farming, poor infection control, and lack of new antibiotic.

WHO Nigeria officer-in-charge, Dr. Peter Clement, who stated this yesterday in Abuja lamented that African continent, is lacking data on the scope and scale of antibiotic resistance.

On his part, NCDC Director, Prevention and Programme Coordination, Dr. Joshua Obasanya, who insisted there was no silver bullet to tackle AMR, said collaborative network was necessary to mitigate it AMR Nigeria.


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