Ministry of Health and Child Care last week launched the Antimicrobial Situation Analysis Report and National Action Plan to combat Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in the country.
Officiating at the event, Health Minister, Dr David Parirenyatwa stated that the government through the AMR core group conducted an analysis of the AMR situation in Zimbabwe in the human, animal, crop and environmental sectors.
“The analysis report showed that Zimbabwe faces significant and growing resistance in common infections such as TB, malaria, HIV, respiratory infections, STIs, urinary tract infections, meningitis and diarrheal diseases,
“With the last typhoid outbreak that took place in the country, we experienced 22% resistance to ciprofloxacin,
“One major driver of resistance is increased antimicrobial consumption in both humans and animals,” said Parirenyatwa.
Antimicrobial resistance is when micro-organisms that infect people fail to respond to treatment previously used to treat the infection thereby rendering medications ineffective.
Data on microbial use and patterns of AMR in humans and animals in Zimbabwe are limited.
“In Zimbabwe there is also lack of meaningful surveillance data to help understand resistance patterns, prevalent organisms and guide policy development,
“More can be done to prevent infections, including improving general hygiene, sanitation, and implementing good animal husbandry including keeping our environment clean,” added Parirenyatwa.
World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative, Dr David Okello noted that resistance to antibiotics is considered the greatest and most urgent global risk requiring international and national attention.
“AMR is not just in our hospitals, but our farms and food chain too,
“Agriculture must shoulder its share of responsibility both by using antimicrobials more responsibly and cutting down the need to use them through good farming hygiene,
“In the private health sector there is a temptation to always prescribe the best medicine for even simple conditions, putting at risk the concept of reserved medicines,
“If current trends continue, this will mean the end of modern medicine,” emphasized Okello.
Ministry of health and child care has already started implementing the National Action Plan by conducting a One Health integrated laboratory surveillance on AMR.