WHO Cautions Food Producers, Farmers Against Misuse Of Antibiotics
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has cautioned food producers and farmers against the misuse of antibiotics on animals to control or treat infectious diseases,
Delivering the message of WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moet to mark the World Antibiotic awareness week on Wednesday in Abuja, the WHO Officer in Charge,Dr Clement Peter urged farmers and food producers to help by giving antibiotics to animals only to control or treat infectious diseases,’and phase out the routine use of antibiotics to promote growth.
“Ensuring that patients and animals use antibiotics only when they are really needed is critical to keeping antibiotics effective for as long as possible.”
According to Dr Peter’ Nothing less than global health security is at stake when antibiotics are misused. From being miracle life-savers, antibiotics are becoming ineffective against resistant infectious which can affect anyone, of any age, in any country. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria (not humans or animals) become resistant to the active ingredients in these medicines.”
“These resistant bacteria may infect humans and animals, making infections like pneumonia, tuberculosis and gonorrhea harder to treat. The reasons for rising antibiotic resistance include overprescribing, misuse by patients who don’t follow the advice of healthcare professionals, overuse in farming, poor infection control, and a lack of new antibiotics. We can help by seeking advice from a health professional before taking antibiotics. They are a precious resource.”
“Laboratories and researchers have a critical role to play in identifying resistant bacteria and contributing to the global picture so the world can take appropriate action.”he said.
Dr Peter expressed worry that Africa lacks data on the scope and scale of antibiotic resistance. said antibiotic resistance was rising because common bacteria which cause urinary tract infections, diarrhea and septic wounds among other things, are becoming resistant to readily available and prescribed antibiotics.
‘Across the continent, laboratories can help by looking out for evidence of resistance in the bacteria they see, and to feed this information into national and regional efforts to understand how it spreads and where it poses the greatest risk.”he said.
‘Research and development is the cornerstone of new, life-saving antibiotics. However, since the 1980s, there have been very few new antibiotics. Incentives for public-private partnerships to invest in new medicines, vaccines and diagnostic tools are urgently needed to stimulate the development of new antibiotics and therapies. Governments, funding agencies and the private sector need to invest and work together to secure safe, effective medicines for generations to come.”
“Patients should never demand nor share antibiotics, and only use them when prescribed by a certified healthcare professional. Farmers and food producers can help by giving antibiotics to animals only to control or treat infectious diseases, and phase out the routine use of antibiotics to promote growth. Ensuring that patients and animals use antibiotics only when they are really needed is critical to keeping antibiotics effective for as long as possible.”Dr Peter said.