The rising cases of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) complications which cause about 700, 000 deaths worldwide are set to increase if nothing is done to address the matter.
Resistance to antibiotics is one of the most complex public health threats with root causes in multiple sectors ranging from health, food safety and agriculture to environment and trade.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), Dr. Rashid Aman said that the threat posed by resistant genes and drug- resistant infections continued to increase thus the need for strengthened and formal governance coordination mechanism to synchronize the response to AMR.
Speaking on Wednesday while opening the National Antimicrobial resistance symposium, Aman said that Kenya was no exception to this threat with increasing rates of antimicrobial resistance being reported in hospitals and communities.
“The MOH in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation joined the concerted regional and international efforts to reduce antimicrobial resistance and ensure the availability of effective antibiotics,” said Aman.
He explained that the Ministries jointly developed the Policy and the National Action Plan and purpose to continue with this approach through implementation.
“In response to the need for clarity and coordination, the National Policy on AMR has established a National Antimicrobial Stewardship Inter-Agency Committee and a multi-sectoral AMR Secretariat hosted at the Ministry of Health to coordinate the AMR agenda,” he said.
He highlighted that the ministries responsible for health, livestock, crops and fisheries would work together to implement this Policy and associated Strategies and Action Plan through a “One Health” approach.
The Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Principal Secretary (PS), Harry Kimutai said that globally the burden of AMR is estimated to be 700, 000 deaths annually which is targeted to be 10 million by 2050 and it will amount to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) loss of about one percent.
“Closer home, it estimated that five million deaths will occur by 2050 in Sub-Sahara Africa due to AMR related causes,” said Kimutai.
He said that the agricultural sector contributes a significant amount to the economy with an estimated 26% of the GDP and a further 27% through manufacturing, distribution and services sector and account for 65% of the total export earnings and therefore tackling AMR would be critical in ensuring food security and maintaining export markets.
“Mitigating AMR is a national priority since it plays a big role in the achievement of the big 4 agenda especially food security and Universal Health Coverage (UHC),” said Kimutai.
He called on farmers to withdraw from selling and drinking milk from a cow which is being treated with antibiotics as the same medication is found in milk and is dangerous if ingested by human beings.
By Joseph Ng’ang’a