18 November 2020 | Abuja – Nigeria joins the World to Commemorate 2020 Antibiotics Awareness Week
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an issue of global public health concern. This occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites resist the effects of medicines or antimicrobials, making common infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death. As part of efforts to combat this threat, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) joins the global community to commemorate the 2020 World Antibiotics Awareness Week (WAAW).
In 2015, the World Health Organization set aside the month of November to raise awareness on antimicrobial resistance. Since 2017, NCDC as the National AMR Coordinating body has worked closely with states, relevant stakeholders in the Ministries of Health, Agriculture and Environment to strengthen surveillance for AMR and raise awareness on this public health threat.
This year, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, in collaboration with Ministries, Departments and Agencies in the animal and human health sectors with support from partners will commemorate the WAAW from 18-24 November themed ‘’Antimicrobials: Handle with care’’. The goal is to raise awareness on the global threat of AMR and promote responsible antimicrobial usage amongst healthcare professionals in the animal, human and environment sectors as well as the public.
Several activities have been outlined by NCDC, Federal Ministries of Agriculture and Environment in collaboration with partners, to be held at both national and state level. These include:
1. Webinar on operationalising One Health interventions on antimicrobial stewardship in Nigeria
2. Participation at the international webinar on antimicrobial resistance awareness organised by Shoolini University, India
3. Virtual engagement with livestock farmers
4. Interactive discussion with Honourable Commissioners of Health, Agriculture and Environment
5. Training with Fleming Fund Fellows on Antimicrobial resistance and Antimicrobial use surveillance
6. Interactive discussion with State Epidemiologists, State Veterinary Epidemiology officers and State Environmental officers
7. Virtual meeting to establish Community of Practice for AMR
8. Training of journalists on AMR awareness
In the last four years, Nigeria has achieved significant milestones in improving AMR surveillance and increasing awareness on the threats. This includes constitution of a National Antimicrobial Resistance Coordination Committee (NARCC) and Technical Working Group (TWG), a functional surveillance network with sentinel sites and reference laboratories in the human and animal sector, conduct of a Situation Analysis and development of a National Action Plan. In addition, the NCDC National Reference Laboratory and other laboratories within the national network are enrolled in the Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System (GLASS). Through this and other systems in place, Nigeria is contributing to the global response to AMR.
Antimicrobial Resistance is an increasingly serious threat to global public health that requires action across various government sectors and society. We urge Nigerians to avoid the overuse and misuse of antimicrobials. It is also important to avoid the heavy use of antibiotics in food animal production. The National AMR secretariat at NCDC continues to play a vital role in connecting relevant stakeholders to implement the National Action Plan on AMR.
About the NCDC
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 infectious disease outbreaks and 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 (2017-2021) is ‘To protect the health of Nigerians through evidence-based prevention, integrated disease surveillance and response activities, using a One Health approach, guided by research and led by a skilled workforce’.
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Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu
DG, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control