20 November 2021 | Abuja – Spread Awareness, Stop Resistance; NCDC Launches Awareness Campaign to Tackle Antimicrobial Resistance
Can you imagine a world where all the drugs that act against pathogens that make us sick such as bacteria, viruses, fungi no longer work when we really need them to get us well again? This is exactly what antimicrobial resistance (AMR) will lead to. AMR occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites change their nature over time because of over exposure to medicines or antimicrobials such that these drugs are no longer effective against them. This could result in failed of prolonged treatment, higher health cost, live-long disabilities or even deaths to anyone at any age.
AMR is now recognised as one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity. Consequently, in the recent years, increasing interventions have been made globally to increase awareness of this threat and as well to reduce its burden. Like many countries, Nigeria is no exception to the challenges posed by AMR. Self-medication – that is, people obtaining and taking antimicrobials without prescription - remains a common practice. This kind of abuse of and overexposure to antibiotics is a key driver of resistance. Thus, the efforts to ensure the prudent use of antimicrobial drugs cannot be more strongly emphasised at this time.
In May 2015, the World Health Assembly adopted a Global Action Plan on AMR and aligned to this effort, member States were also urged to develop their own National Action Plans. On 26th November 2016, the Nigerian Minister for Health approved the establishment of Nigeria’s National AMR Coordinating Body at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). The NCDC then led the development of the National Action Plan to tackle AMR that adopted a ‘One-Health’ approach – clear evidence of Nigeria’s commitment to tackling the threat of AMR. The One Health approach is a multi-pronged strategy that acknowledges the contribution of human, animal and environmental factors to AMR. The NCDC is also enrolled in the Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System (GLASS) and has also enrolled 21 laboratories across the human, animal and environment sectors in its National AMR surveillance system. With support from the UK Government through Fleming Fund, the World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization and other partners, Nigeria continues to strengthen surveillance for AMR and antimicrobial use in the human, animal and environment health sectors. In addition, Healthcare workers are continually trained on infection prevention and control in hospitals.
Although Nigeria has made significant progress in implementing prioritized activities in line with the National AMR Action Plan, sustained efforts are still required to reduce, prevent and slow the evolution of resistant organisms and their impact on health care while ensuring optimal use and improved access to effective, safe and quality-assured antimicrobials.
Since 2016, Nigeria has joined the global community to commemorate World Antibiotics Awareness Week (WAAW) which takes place from 18th – 24th November every year. The theme for 2021 is – ‘Spread Awareness, Stop Resistance’. This calls on One-Health stakeholders, policymakers, health care providers, and the general public to be champions of antimicrobial resistance. As part of efforts the awareness raising efforts, several activities have been outlined by the National Antimicrobial Resistance Coordination Committee including (but not limited to):
Virtual Knowledge Exchange Symposium/Community of Practice Meeting with focus on AMR/AMU data sharing between Nigeria and Germany
One-Day AMR Policy Dialogue on AMR Financing in Nigeria and Official Handover of the Renovated Medical Microbiology Laboratories to the Chief Medical Directors (CMD) of the AMR sentinel Sites.
Virtual Presentation on Antimicrobial Resistance: The scourge of difficult to treat infections in LMIC
Webinar Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance and Antimicrobial Use
Town hall meeting with poultry farmers, live bird market operators and other poultry stakeholders
AMR Spelling Bee and Campaign Speech Among Secondary Schools Students
Seminar on Awareness Creation in secondary schools.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) urges Nigerians to prevent drug resistance by visiting a health facility if they fall ill so that appropriate tests can be done to reach a proper diagnosis, to practice responsible use of antimicrobials which includes taking only prescribed medications and not sharing antimicrobials with any other person.
The Federal Government of Nigeria through the National Antimicrobial Resistance Coordination Committee led by NCDC, remains committed to contributing to the global response to AMR and sustain advocacy towards the responsible use of antimicrobials.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control is the country’s national public health institute, with the mandate to lead the preparedness, detection and response to public health emergencies. The Bill for an Act to establish NCDC was signed into law in November 2018, by President Muhammadu Buhari. The mission for the NCDC is ‘To protect the health of Nigerians through evidence-based prevention, integrated disease surveillance and response, using a One Health approach, guided by research and led by skilled workforce’.
NCDC Toll-free Number: 6232 | SMS: 08099555577 | WhatsApp: 07087110839 Twitter: @NCDCGov | Facebook: @NCDCgov | Instagram: @NCDCgov | NCDC Media Releases
Dr Ifedayo Adetifa
Nigeria Centre for Disease Control