The federal government says the misuse of antibiotics threatens the nation’s health systems.
Tochi Okwor, chairman of Nigeria’s Antimicrobial Resistance Coordinating Committee, said abuse of these drugs increases antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
AMR occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites adapt over time and stop responding to medications, making illnesses harder to cure and increasing the risk of disease transmission, disease potentially fatal and death.
Speaking Friday At a press conference organized by the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) to commemorate World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, Okwor said AMR is one of the top 10 global public health threats faced by the humanity faces.
She added that this has affected the effective treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi.
“There are many dangers associated with buying over-the-counter antibiotics. You don’t know if the antibiotics you’re buying are the right ones for what’s wrong with you,” she said.
“To be sure which antibiotics to take, your sample must be taken in the laboratory and it is in the laboratory that the organism responsible for the infection is known.
“How do you know what dose to take?” Who monitors the dosage you take? You must be advised on the dose to take and you must be monitored by an expert.
“The best way to take antibiotics is to go to the hospital, have a health worker examine you and take your sample, get your result published in a timely manner, and use what we call the antibiotic formulary We have guidelines of antibiotics to prescribe according to the specific guidelines.
Daniel Onwuliri, Senior Technical Advisor, USAID’s Global Health Security Program, said the event themed “Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together” is critical to stopping the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance.
“Antimicrobial resistance remains a lifelong threat to all and it is a silent pandemic or as some have called it ‘a pending pandemic'”, he said.
“The problem of antimicrobial use, where unregulated access to antimicrobials is rife, creates a heavy burden on the healthcare system and on communities battling antimicrobial resistance.
“So our collaborative efforts are important, and USAID MTaPS has supported the one health approach to addressing AMR.”
Niniola Williams, chief executive, Dr Ameyo Stella Adadevoh Health Trust, said the fight against AMR would be targeted at young people as they are the biggest consumers of antibiotics.
“Antimicrobial resistance is a pandemic in the shadows and one of the major global health threats capable of leading to the death of 10 million people and a loss of $100 trillion to our global economy by 2050,” she said.
“As time slowly passes in this room, it reminds us that every day, including this moment, presents an opportunity to reduce the burden of this threat in our society.
“In particular, we believe in investing in youth as a key stakeholder group in the fight against antimicrobial resistance. They are the current consumers and future prescribers of these drugs and they have the ability to contribute to the solutions.