The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC has raised the alarm over the increasing rate of irrational use of antibiotics which has further accelerated the process of Antimicrobial Resistance AMR, leading to avoidable deaths.
The assertion was made on Friday by the Director General of NAFDAC, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye at the virtual 2021 World Antimicrobial Resistance Week (WAAW) anniversary with the theme, Spread Awareness Stop Resistance.
Sayo Akintola, NAFDAC’s Resident Media Consultant in a statement on Sunday in Lagos, quoted Prof Adeyeye as sounding a strong note of warning that if allowed to fester, antimicrobial resistance could lead to death. She added that the menace and war against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) has, not only gained prominent and global attention but, also become a significant battle that the human race must win.
‘’It is in view of this fact; I am delighted to be part of this battle and welcome all our esteemed stakeholders to the front line of this battle. Creating awareness amidst us all is a major step in AMR stewardship by relevant stakeholders to effectively stop resistance’’, she said, adding that the ‘’step is unique and is expected, not only to redirect our way of handling and use of antimicrobial agents, but also to yield a significant reduction in the incidence of AMR.”
According to her, NAFDAC is using the stakeholders’ meeting, to mark her participation in the year 2021 World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW), targeting professionals in the Healthcare sector, Veterinarians, Animal Husbandry professionals in livestock production, Plant Pathologists and individuals that use antimicrobial agents.
Prof Adeyeye expressed dismay that the development and proliferation of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), which is the ability of pathogenic microorganism to resist the effect of antimicrobial agents when used to treat internal or external infections in both human and animal population has compromised the ability of antimicrobials to effectively treat infectious diseases as expected. ‘’The emergence and spread of drug-resistant pathogens continues to weaken the health systems,” she lamented.
The NAFDAC boss posited that the fight against AMR requires collective efforts that are interlinked and interphase along the One-Health Concept. To this end, she said NAFDAC in her regulatory activities has put in place some important regulatory measures to curb the emergence and spread of AMR.
‘’This is very necessary and extremely important to ensure food safety and food security, a safe environment, and a healthy citizen in our dear country,” she said, adding that everyone in the healthcare, livestock production and environmental management subsectors of the economy is directly or indirectly involved in curbing AMR.
Prof Adeyeye, however, reaffirmed NAFDAC’s commitment to ensuring that only safe and wholesome food, drugs, and other regulated products are available to Nigerians. She said, “The Agency is now more dedicated to the delivery of quality services to our stakeholders thus the Agency’s slogan ‘customer focused… Agency minded’ which is now well entrenched in our operations.”
In today’s NAFDAC, she said the Agency seeks to strengthen collaboration with stakeholders, sister MDAs both at State and Federal levels, toward a more effective regulation and active involvement in creating awareness about AMR, insisting that ignorant and/or non-conformance amidst professionals will be a serious setback in bringing to an end the emergence and spread of AMR.
The Agency’s stake in the protection of public health, as entrenched in NAFDAC Act Cap N1 LFN 2004, is to ensure that regulated products that are available for use are wholesome, safe and of the right quality. The Agency, in fulfilling this mandate toward combating AMR, is adding impetus to her regulatory activities through industrial outreach and collaboration with stakeholders and fostering synergy within her technical directorates to attain a seamless regulatory process and ensuring that the distribution and use of regulated products are effectively controlled through a robust Post Marketing Surveillance.
Currently, she disclosed that the Agency has, amidst other regulatory actions reviewed the formulation of all antibiotics to prevent the excessive use of multiple Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients and banned the use of Antibiotics as growth promoter in livestock and fish production.
Prof Adeyeye further explained that the Agency has banned the use of Antibiotics and gentian violet as mold inhibitor in animal feed. She said that the Agency also introduced the Mobile Authentication Service (MAS), a mechanism put in place for detecting counterfeit antibiotics by consumers while NAFDAC organised road show campaign and public enlightenment on the appropriate use of antimicrobial agents to promote safe and judicious use of antibiotics.
According to the DG, several factors have perpetuated the accelerated AMR occurrence; they contribute in various ways to the problem. She noted that misuse resulting from overuse and underuse of antimicrobial agents have been identified as main causes and implicated in the increasing trend of resistant pathogens in both human and animal populations.
‘’Consequently, minimizing the emergence and spread of AMR requires a coordinated, focused multi-sectorial and multinational effort,” she said.