The World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday warned that the African continent and other parts of the world risk a huge surge of deaths if the issue of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is not addressed.
“If adequate actions are not taken by governments across the continent,” WHO said, about ten million persons could die annually by 2050, especially in Africa and Asia.
The warning was issued at the validation workshop for National Action Plan (NAP) on AMR on Tuesday at a resort in Monrovia.
Sonpon Sieh, One Health National Coordinator, told the participants that for the past few decades, AMR has been a growing threat to effective treatment.
Mr. Sieh said AMR results have reduced efficacy of antibacterial, anti-parasitic, antiviral and anti-fungal drugs, making the treatment of patients difficult, costly or even impossible.
“The impact is felt particularly by vulnerable patients as it can result in prolonged illness and increased mortality,” he said.
Mr. Sieh indicated that there is an urgent need to develop a statement on amending the Public Health Law, to include the “Keep Antimicrobial Effective” Legislation; See Chapter 9 of the revised Public Health Law – Sub-Chapter B- Use of Anti-microbials –9.7 Purpose, 9.8 Definition, 9.9; The Practice and 9.10 Penalty.
Sieh said the developed protocol for the implementation at pilot site focuses on clinical infection at the “Redemption Hospital” in Kru Town, on Bushrod Island.
Reverend Tijli Tarty Tyee, in a presentation on the summary of the joint external evaluation and country situation analysis, said that at the 68th World Health Assembly in 2015, member states adopted a resolution to implement the Global Action Plan (GAP) to respond to the serious public health issue of AMR.
Mr. Tyee said at the assembly member states agreed on the importance of developing national action plans (NAPs) aligned with the GAP and using the five strategic objectives that include improving awareness and understanding of AMR through effective communication, education and training.
NAPs include strengthening the knowledge and evidence base through surveillance and research, reducing the incidence of infection through effective sanitation, hygiene, and infection prevention measures, and optimizing the use of antimicrobial agents in human and animal health and Economic investment for sustainability and innovations.
Dr. Ralph W. Jetoh, deputy director, Division of Infectious Disease Epidemiology of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), said that looking at the importance attached to the document, the entity will not rest until the act is validated.
Jetoh said NPHIL is sure that if the document is validated it will put an end to AMR with the legislation.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO), United States Aid for International Development (USAID) and others also emphasized the importance of getting people to understand the threat that AMR poses to citizens in both Africa and Asia.
According to them, health is not a guesswork, but is a work dedicated to a profession, adding that most problems of AMR came from the clinics and hospitals because they are treating bacteria with third generational drugs, which is causing problems in putting an end to AMR.