Ethiopia is commemorating the 2022 World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) through a series of events that are aimed at raising the awareness of health professionals and the community in general on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), its hazards, containment and prevention.
The country has also launched Sector Specific Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance prevention and containment which is the first of its kind in the World Health Organization African Region.
In her keynote address during the launch of the commemoration event, WHO Deputy Representative Dr. Nonhlanhla Rose Dlamini said, “The global and regional burden of AMR is alarming, and sub-Saharan African countries are bearing the heaviest burden of resistant bacterial infections.”
With 99 deaths per 100 000 population, Sub-Saharan Africa, as compared to other regions, has the highest AMR associated deaths, which is far exceeding the previous global projections of 700 000 annual deaths from AMR.
“Compounding the challenge is that more than half of all deaths recorded in the WHO African Region are caused by communicable diseases that are managed with antimicrobial medicines,” Dr Dlamini said, adding that AMR puts at risk decades of advances towards the control of diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and sexually-transmitted infections. She also stressed the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH), vaccines and waste management as an essential component in addressing AMR.
The Government of Ethiopia is working with development partners to implement the third edition of National Antimicrobial Containment and Prevention Strategic Plan: the One Health Approach 2021-2025 in line with global and regional action plans. “WHO is honored to be part of the process, where Ethiopia is the first country in the WHO African region to launch sector-specific plan on Antimicrobial Resistance Prevention and Control,” Dr. Nonhlanhla Rose Dlamini said.
“Ethiopia has faced its huge share of multifaceted problems that are associated with AMR” Deputy Director General of Ethiopian Environmental Protection Authority Mrs. Frenesh Mekuria said and expressed hope that the sector-specific AMR Prevention and Containment Action Plan would help alleviate the various problems AMR is causing to human, animal and environmental health.
Expressing the determination of the various ministerial and sector offices working on AMR, the Deputy Director General called upon all national and international partners and stakeholders to enhance their collaboration and coordination in controlling the impacts of AMR in Ethiopia and beyond.
The commemoration and launching ceremony was attended by representatives from the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Authority and international partners.
WAAW 2022 is being observed from November 18th to 24th 2022 across the globe with the theme “Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together” with the aim of raising awareness on the risks posed by overuse and misuse of antimicrobials, including antibiotics, and to encourage their more responsible use.
WAAW also aims at calling for urgent multisectoral collaboration and action to preserve the efficacy of this fundamental component of modern medicine through a One-Health approach.
Antimicrobial resistance, known more commonly as “drug resistance”, occurs when disease-causing germs become resistant to traditional medication, making infections harder to treat, and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.
Lack of effective antimicrobials will also negatively impact treatment of diseases in animals, with potentially dire consequences for food security, and overall economic growth.
Other than misuse and overuse of antimicrobials in human and animal health, other drivers include limited availability and uptake of vaccines; limited diagnostic capacity to support appropriate treatment; lack of access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene; poor infection prevention and control practices; poor disposal practices; and the presence of antimicrobials in the environment and water bodies.
Guided by the Global Action Plan on AMR, and in line with WHO’s 13th General Programme of Work (GPW), WHO in the African Region continues to support regional and national interventions to combat AMR.
WHO collaborated with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (WHOA), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), USAID, the African Centres for Disease Control and the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources, in high level advocacy and a continental appeal for increased high-level political advocacy to highlight the depth of the AMR threat.
The partners also enabled the country to mobilize significant amounts of funds from MPTF AMR project 2021-2023 and Kingdom of Saudia Arabia to support implementation of the National AMR strategic and containment plan 2021-2025 at national and sub-national level.
In 2019, more than 4.9 million deaths were globally attributed to drug-resistant bacterial infections, with over 1.2 million of them directly related to AMR, which is more than HIV/AIDS and malaria combined.
Various reports also suggest that the management of COVID-19 patients with antibiotics has fueled the global AMR threat.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO) – Ethiopia.