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Antimicrobial Resistance is a threat to Ghana's Food Safety and Security—President Akufo-Addo

A Policy on Antimicrobial Use and Resistance, and a National Action Plan has been launched in Accra.

 

The epoch policy document, which seeks to regulate the rational use of Antibiotic consumption and the improvement on infection prevention, and control of Antimicrobial use and practices, is a collaborated effort by four (4) Ministries—Health, Food and Agriculture, Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, and Fisheries and Aquaculture.

 

In all, US $21 million is needed to implement the policy that spans over a five-year period.

 

At the launch of the two policy documents on Wednesday, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo noted that although antimicrobials had been used to prevent and treat microbial infections over the last decade, anti-microbial resistance had become a threat to the significant achievements made in the field of infectious disease therapy, animal and crop health, the environment, and fisheries and aqua culture life.

 

What this means, the President explained, was that a simple treatment for infection, such as pneumonia or gonorrhea, could no longer be possible because of anti-microbial resistance.

 

Currently, he said, the world was grappling with Drug Resistant Tuberculosis, which is threatening to undo decades of progress made in the treatment and control of tuberculosis.

 

The President expressed concern that the country's food supply chain was also not spared, because antibiotic resistance has been a major challenge to animal husbandry, fisheries and aquaculture sectors, as research had shown.

 

Furthermore, he said, the environment was also at risk as effluents from industry kept polluting the soil and water bodies.

 

As co-Chair of the United Nations Advocates Group of Eminent Persons on the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), President Akufo-Addo intimated that the phenomenon of anti-microbial resistance represented a grave threat to the realization of SDG 3, which required that countries promoted healthy lives and the wellbeing for their citizens.

 

SDG 3, the President indicated, therefore, warranted that all efforts were geared towards overcoming the resistance.

 

In addition, he said, the World Health Organization had urged all member states to develop and put in place, national action plans on anti-microbial resistance that must be aligned with the objectives of the global action plan launched in May 2015.

 

The launch of the Antimicrobial policy and National Action Policy Document, President Akufo-Addo said, was a clear manifestation of Ghana’s readiness to implement the contents.

 

President Akufo-Addo said he was fortified in his conviction that Ghana was well-positioned to join in the global effort to fight anti-microbial resistance.

 

He expressed the hope that the committed implementation of the interventions outlined in the documents would guarantee the efficacy, as well as ensure the responsible use of antimicrobials, and, thereby, preserve them for future generations.

 

He said as an integral part of the vision of creating a Ghana beyond aid, domestic resources were being mobilized to deal with this menace of antimicrobial resistance.

 

President Akufo-Addo, therefore, tasked the SDG Secretariat to ensure a smooth and hitch-free implementation, and urged the Minister for Health and the Attorney-General to take the necessary steps to move some of the policy issues into legislation to ensure public health and safety.

 

President Akufo-Addo urged all Ghanaians to join hands in the implementation of the anti-microbial resistance plan and challenged industry to also come out with new innovations and formulations of antimicrobials, vaccines and diagnostics, as the country sought to combat the resistance phenomenon.

 

He also charged the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Implementation of the SDGs to incorporate the various indicators for anti-microbial resistance into their work stream and ensure that the achievement of SDG 3was realized by the target date of 2030.

 

Source: ISD (Rex Mainoo Yeboah)