UN official urges Africa to lower demand for antimicrobials

Antimicrobial susceptibility testing in petri dish
Antimicrobial susceptibility testing in petri dish

An official with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Tuesday urged African governments to lower demand for antimicrobials.

Stella Kiambi, FAO’s national antimicrobial resistance coordinator for Kenya, said that once the demand is lowered, unnecessary use of antimicrobials that leads to resistance will also reduce.

“There is need to use methods such as vaccination that reduce the need for antibiotics by keeping the livestock away from getting diseases,” Kiambi told reporters in Nairobi.

She urged officials to resort to keeping sanitation and hygiene to help reduce the risk of infection and therefore the less need for use of antibiotics.

Kiambi called for the hastening of public awareness on the dangers of antimicrobials by telling the public what they have to do to reduce the risk of emergence and spread.

“It is important to use antibiotics in agriculture when necessary but not as growth promoters or for prophylaxis,” she added.

Kiambi called for the adoption of rapid diagnosis so that only the necessary medicine is used to target the identified organism rather than just misusing broad spectrum antibiotics.

The UN official called for the enactment of public health strategy that encourages interdisciplinary collaboration and communication on health at the human, animal and environmental.

“The FAO action plan on antimicrobials resistance 2016 – 2020 has been developed to support the food and agricultural sectors in managing the antimicrobials resistance,” Kiambi noted.

She urged scientists to minimize environmental contamination with effluents from pharmaceutical companies and inappropriate disposal of medicines to save livestock from contaminating human beings.

“We need to have more people with knowledge of antimicrobials to provide the necessary services like livestock extension services so that farmers raise livestock appropriately,” she added. Enditem

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