Antimicrobial resistant (AMR) is now where HIV was in the early 80s when most Countries were in denial, and hoped that they could wish it away, and yet HIV turned out as it is. When we realise that AMR is now a major threat to public health that we can’t wish away, the vital question becomes; what do we do about it – Dr. Lawal Bakare, CEO EpidAlert Informative Initiative.
Dr Lawal said this while addressing the audience at the first-ever Infectious Diseases Indaba held in Lagos on the 7th of June, 2019, on the need for everyone to not only commit to the AMR Challenge but to also act upon their commitments. EpidAlert is taking the lead, and acting on our commitment with this ID indaba, he said.
The pioneering event brought together individuals (students, practitioners, businesses, private and public sector) capable of making a difference in the infectious disease space. Prof. Sade Ogunsola, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, was the guest speaker at the event and she spoke on the topic; ‘Emerging resistant microbes in Nigeria: Implications for clinical management of infectious diseases’
Keynotes from the pilot ID Indaba
Antimicrobial resistant (AMR) pathogens cause infections that are more severe and less responsive to treatment. It currently accounts for over 700,000 deaths per year, affecting both High, Medium and Low-income countries. It is estimated that at the current rate of growth, AMR will account for mortality rates of 10m lives annually and USD 100 trillion (360 trillion) annually by 2050, with the majority of these deaths coming from Africa and Asia.
How did we get here?
Prof. Ogunsola highlighted the early warning signs of AMR globally, displaying reports from as far back as the 80s and 90s showing resistance of a wide range of life-threatening infection-causing pathogens like Staph aureus, K. pneumoniae, E. coli, Hiv 1, S. pneumoniae, including strains of at least 3 bacteria species (Enterococcus faecalis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) evading every antibiotics in the clinician’s armamentarium, a stockpile of over 100 drugs.
Nigeria is not left out, the image below shows Nigerian antimicrobial resistance profiles in the 80s and 90s.
“AMR is driven by antibiotics consumption in humans and animals, reports show a significant increase in the consumption rate of antibiotics in humans and animals. With quality indicators showing a tendency for inappropriate antibiotics use”- She said.
What are we doing about it?
“We are in the eye of a perfect storm, as bacterial infections grow more resistant to antibiotics, companies are pulling out of antibiotic research and fewer new antibiotics are being approved”- Prof Ogunsola
In 2014, a report by WHO showed that AMR is no longer a prediction for the future, it is happening right now in every region of the world and has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country.
This report kick-started a global effort led by WHO to address drug resistance. Including the development of a global action plan to mitigate AMR and a mandate for all countries to develop a national action plan on antimicrobial resistance.
Prof. Ogunsola gave kudos to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control NCDC for spearheading the process and developing a national action plan on antimicrobial resistance for Nigeria.
Addressing the Gaps
Prof. Ogunsola said that it is time to move from planning to actions, laying emphasis on individual responsibility in tackling antimicrobial resistance, she highlighted actions that can be taken in addressing the gaps, including:
- Need to reduce the rate of antimicrobial use
- Need to develop and use antimicrobial guidelines and policy
- Invest in baseline and necessary microbiology investigations, to reduce the number of unnecessary antimicrobial use. All prescription must be backed with microbiology investigation either before or during treatment she emphasized.
ID Indaba is an EpidAlert initiative designed as an annual cycle of meetings and exhibitions to bring together practitioners, business and public sector to stay in tune with the market, the opportunities and gain strong network with which they can continue to lead successful control of Infectious Diseases