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Impact of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Poses Enormous Challenges to Economy and Health Systems, Warns NCDC

Abuja, Nigeria – World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) Commemoration

As Nigeria aligns with the global community to observe World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW), the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has emphasized the staggering impact of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) on the economy, health systems, and the pursuit of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, the Director-General of NCDC, shared these concerns during a press briefing held in Abuja to mark this year’s WAAW. He highlighted that the repercussions of AMR could result in the loss of up to US$100 trillion in global gross domestic product by 2050, with Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) anticipated to bear the brunt of these negative effects.

Antimicrobial agents, essential for ensuring food security, face an alarming projection of a 70 percent increase in global consumption by 2030, potentially disrupting sustainable food production systems if proactive measures are not implemented.

“Annually, AMR directly contributes to 1.27 million deaths, and an additional 3.7 million deaths are associated with it,” stated Dr. Adetifa, noting that LMICs, including Nigeria, account for nearly 90 percent of the direct death toll. Disturbingly, over 99.5 percent of AMR-related deaths occur among children under the age of five, surpassing the mortality rates of HIV/AIDS, malaria, or most forms of cancer.

In response to this critical threat, Dr. Adetifa revealed that Nigeria has established an AMR surveillance network, implemented antimicrobial stewardship, and launched awareness programs nationwide targeting healthcare professionals, farmers, and the public. The country is also finalizing its second National Action Plan for AMR (NAP 2.0) in collaboration with stakeholders, encompassing financial considerations, milestones, and national targets, aligning with SDG indicators on AMR within the human health sector.

The Joint External Evaluation (JEE 3.0) results showed significant progress for Nigeria, with a 54 percent rating compared to 39 percent in the first evaluation in 2017. Dr. Adetifa emphasized that the National AMR multisectoral coordination and antimicrobial stewardship have notably advanced, showcasing Nigeria’s commitment to addressing both national and global AMR threats.

Dr. Walter Kazadi, the World Health Organisation (WHO) representative and head of mission in Nigeria, underscored the critical nature of AMR, ranking it as a more significant contributor to overall and child mortality in Nigeria than HIV, TB, or malaria. Additionally, he highlighted the projected GDP loss of 5-7 percent attributable to AMR in developing countries like Nigeria by 2050.

As the world collectively grapples with the challenges posed by AMR, Nigeria’s efforts, as highlighted by the NCDC, serve as a noteworthy example of proactive measures to safeguard public health and sustainable development. The NCDC is poised to launch the draft NAP 2.0 in December 2023, incorporating recommendations from the JEE 3.0 to further fortify the country’s defenses against the growing threat of AMR.

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