UN Warns Nigerians Against Overuse of Antibiotics

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and its partners want Nigerians to minimize the use of antibiotics.

This followed a stakeholders meeting in Abuja, organised by the FAO to review the national action plan implementation.

Speaking at the event, the FAO assistant country director, Mr Abubakar Suleiman called for stronger antimicrobial resistance surveillance systems in the region and warned Nigerians to desist from consumption without a doctor’s prescription.

He said this will help fast track the implementation of the National Action Plan on addressing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) jointly launched by World Health Organisation (WHO), FAO and World Organisation for Animal Health, formerly the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) known as the Tripartite in 2017.

Mr Suleiman further explained that antimicrobial resistance occurs when microorganisms such as fungi, parasites, and bacteria evolve to become immune to the medicines used to treat them.

He said the overuse and misuse of antibiotics medicines contribute to this threat.

A representative of the Chief Veterinary council of Nigeria, the Director, Mr Peter-Francis Umana said the overuse of antibiotics in food animals and the subsequent contamination of the environment have been associated with the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance.

He highlighted the progressive management of the transboundary animal disease pathway for the antimicrobial resistance organised with the support of the FAO.

Another representative of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Mrs Abiodun Egenu, on his part said COVID-19 had a negative impact on the implementation of the national plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance.

She outlined challenges to include reduced funding, lack of support for coordination meetings, as well as deferred activities in data collection, capacity building, and campaigns.

The meeting highlighted an urgent need to expedite the prioritization, costing, implementation and monitoring of antimicrobial resistance activities and to build capacity to ensure the effective functioning of multisectoral coordination structures.

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