First African Conference on Antibiotic use opens in Ghana
Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health has called for an effective surveillance to monitor the use of antimicrobials and its occurrence of resistant bacteria in both humans and animals.
He said research had shown that many lives had been lost as a result of diseases of bacterial origin and misuse of antibiotics was becoming a global medical concern.
Speaking at the opening of a three-day African Conference on Antibiotic use and Resistance, Mr Yieleh Chireh noted that Anti Microbial Resistance (AMR) was a challenge and Africans should develop an African response based on the challenges.
She explained that since resistance could spread between humans, animals and the environment through food, there was the need to also consider the local conditions when developing responses.
“The fight of AMR will not succeed without the efforts and commitments of our various governments. We need firm commitments towards engaging with our African countries, stakeholders and our health partners to ensure optimum implementation of recommendations”.
The conference, the first of its kind, is being organised by the Antibiotic Drug use, Monitoring and Evaluation of Resistance (ADMER), in collaboration with the University Of Ghana School Of Medicine and Dentistry, Ghana’s Ministry of Health, Microbiology Association of Ghana and the European Society of Clinical Microbiology.
The conference on the theme: “Who is winning the Antibiotic Resistance War: Bacteria or Man”, have participants from Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Sweden and Denmark.
Mr Yieleh Chireh noted that transnational research on antimicrobial resistance should be priority among African countries and “we must encourage our various governments to consider investing in this area”.
He advocated for policies on the sales of both human and veterinary antimicrobials and the need to ensure their aggressive regulation.
Dr Magda Robalo, the WHO Representative in Ghana, explained that transmission of resistant pathogens was influenced by trade, travel and human and animal migration.
She said the emergence and spread of AMR was threatening the ability to treat infections and save lives, increasing the risk of worse clinical outcomes and death and consuming more resources which would otherwise be dedicated to other areas.
Antimicrobial resistance undermines standard treatment schemes, infections become harder or even impossible to control and this has added social and economic costs.
She noted that most countries lacked national structures to provide an overview of the situation and had limited capacity for timely information sharing.
“The high proportion of resistance to some drugs implies that prescribers have to resort to more expensive alternatives that may not be available in resource-constrained settings and are likely to further accelerate development of resistance”, she added.
She called for more research and development to discover innovative medicines and other tools to combat antimicrobial resistance.
Professor Alex Dodoo, the Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre in Ghana, who presided, reiterated the need to confront the issue and affirm commitments in addressing it.