The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned Nigerians against taking excess antibiotics, saying it accelerates the process of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), and leads to avoidable deaths.
The warning was contained in a statement signed by the agency’s resident media consultant, Olusayo Akintola, and issued to newsmen on Sunday.
The statement stated that the Director-General of the agency, Moji Adeyeye, disclosed this during a virtual meeting/2021anniversary of World Antimicrobial Resistance Week (WAAW).
The theme for this anniversary is “spread awareness, stop resistance,” where Mrs Adeyeye sounded a warning that
if allowed to fester, antimicrobial resistance could lead to death.
She added that the menace and war against AMR has not only gained prominence and global attention, but also has become a significant battle that the human race must win.
‘’It is in view of this fact; I am delighted to be part of this battle and welcome all our esteemed stakeholders to the front line of this battle. Creating awareness amidst us all is a major step in AMR stewardship to effectively stop resistance.
“The step is unique and is expected, not only to redirect our way of handling and use of antimicrobial agents, but also to yield a significant reduction in the incidence of AMR.
“NAFDAC is using the stakeholders’ meeting to mark her participation in the year 2021 World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW), targeting professionals in the Healthcare sector, including veterinarians, Animal Husbandry professionals in livestock production, Plant Pathologists and individuals that use antimicrobial agents,” she said.
Mrs Adeyeye expressed dismay over the development and proliferation of AMR, saying that the ability of pathogenic microorganisms to resist the effect of antimicrobial agents when used have compromised the ability of antimicrobials to effectively treat infectious diseases as expected.
According to her, emergence and spread of drug-resistant pathogens continues to weaken the health systems’’, she stressed.
Mrs Adeyeye said the fight against AMR requires collective efforts that are interlinked and interphased along the One-Health Concept, adding that NAFDAC had put in place some important regulatory measures to curb the emergence and spread of AMR.
According to her, “this is necessary and extremely important to ensure food safety, food security, a safe environment, and a healthy citizen in our dear country.”
She added that everyone in the healthcare, livestock production and environmental management sub sectors of the economy is directly or indirectly involved in curbing AMR.
Mrs Adeyeye reaffirmed NAFDAC’s commitment to ensuring that only safe and wholesome food, drugs, and other regulated products are available to Nigerians.
She said ‘’the agency is now more dedicated to the delivery of quality services to our stakeholders thus the agency’s slogan which brought about the slogan “customer focus…, agency minded” which has been entrenched in our operations of the agency.
She said the agency seeks to strengthen collaboration with stakeholders, sister Ministries, Departments & Agencies (MDAs) both at state and federal levels, towards a more effective regulation and active involvement in creating awareness about AMR.
She insisted that ignorance amidst professionals would be a serious setback in bringing to an end the emergence and spread of AMR.
She said the agency’s stake in the protection of public health, as entrenched in NAFDAC Act Cap N1 LFN 2004, is to ensure that regulated products that are available for use are wholesome, safe and of the right quality.
She stated that the agency, in fulfilling this mandate towards combating AMR, is adding impetus to her regulatory activities through industrial outreach and collaboration with stakeholders, with fostering synergy within her technical directorates.
She said the aim is to attain a seamless regulatory process and ensure that the distribution and use of regulated products are effectively controlled through a robust Post-Marketing Surveillance.
Mrs Adeyeye disclosed that the agency had amidst other regulatory actions, reviewed the formulation of all antibiotics to prevent the excessive use of multiple Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients and banned the use of Antibiotics as growth promoter in livestock and fish production.
The NAFDAC boss further explained that the agency had banned the use of antibiotics and gentian violet as mold inhibitor in animal feed.
She said that the agency had also introduced the Mobile Authentication Service (MAS), a mechanism for detecting counterfeit antibiotics by consumers.
She added that NAFDAC had also organised road shows and public enlightenment on the appropriate use of antimicrobial agents to promote safe and judicious use of antibiotics.
According to the director-general, several factors have perpetuated the accelerated AMR occurrence; which contributed in various ways to the problem.
She noted that misuse resulting from overuse and underuse of antimicrobial agents has been identified as main causes and implicated in the increasing trend of resistant pathogens in both human and animal populations.
“’Consequently, minimizing the emergence and spread of AMR requires a coordinated, focused multi-sectorial and multinational effort’’, she stressed.