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Drug-resistant superbugs threaten global economy, Nigeria among worst hit


Up to US$100 trillion of global gross domestic product could be lost due to Antimicrobial Resistance by 2050, with Nigeria and other Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) being the most negatively impacted.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control disclosed this in a Monday statement to the World Antimicrobialà Awareness Week (WAAW).

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), AMR occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines, making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.

As a result of drug resistance, antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines become ineffective, and infections become increasingly difficult or impossible to treat.
The WHO disclosed that 15 priority antibiotic-resistant pathogens are causing the greatest threat to human and animal health, and 4 have been detected in Nigeria.

The NCDC emphasized that the impact of AMR on the economy, health systems and the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are enormous.

Every year, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) directly causes 1.27 million deaths and is associated with an additional 3.7 million deaths. LMICs, including Nigeria, bear the brunt of this burden, accounting for nearly 90 per cent of the direct death toll, the centre stated.

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Over 99.5 per cent of AMR–related deaths are among children under five. Recent studies show that more people die directly from AMR than from HIV/AIDS, malaria, or any form of cancer other than lung cancer.
In Africa, the burden of death attributed to AMR was highest in western Africa, at 27.3 deaths per 100,000, making it a super region for death due to drug-resistant pathogens.

Antimicrobial agents are essential for food security, and the global consumption of antimicrobials is projected to rise by 70% by 2030. It will affect sustainable food production systems if nothing is done.
Since 2017, Nigeria has made some strides in its response to AMR.

There is now an AMR surveillance network, antimicrobial stewardship, and awareness programmes across the country, creating awareness of AMR among healthcare professionals, farmers, and the public.

The Centre informed that the National Antimicrobial Resistance Technical Working Group (AMR-TWG) joins the global community to raise awareness of the dangers of misuse or overuse of
antimicrobials and promote collaboration across sectors to preserve the efficacy of these critical medicines.

It stressed that fighting AMR is a global endeavour that must be addressed through a One Health approach, and to curb the menace effectively. All sectors must join forces and encourage the prudent use of antimicrobials and preventive measures.