AIDS, TB, Malaria 'Antibiotic resistance challenges treatment of diseases,' says NGO

The organization said govt should embrace greater innovations and investment in research and development of new antimicrobial medicines.

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Michael Otieno, a pharmacist, dispenses anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs at the Mater Hospital in Kenya's capital Nairobi, September 10, 2015. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya play Michael Otieno, a pharmacist, dispenses anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs at the Mater Hospital in Kenya's capital Nairobi, September 10, 2015. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya
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The Viva Fidel Health Foundation, an NGO, has appealed for strong government commitment to mitigate the spread of antimicrobial resistance threatening the treatment of AIDS, Tuberculosis and malaria.

Dr Stella Agbim, Lead Advocate of the foundation, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.

She said government should embrace greater innovations and investment in research and development of new antimicrobial medicines, vaccines and diagnostic tools to address the challenge.

"Government should be strongly committed to the global action plan to ensure continuity of successful treatment and prevention of infectious diseases with effective and safe medicines that are quality-assured," she said.

According to her, the resistance also slowed the gains against childhood dysentery and pneumonia.

She said that the Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) threatens the effectiveness of successful treatment of infections and is a public health issue with national and global dimensions.

She added that AMR frequently occurs in microorganisms that are likely to be transmitted in the community such as organisms causing pneumonia, diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis (TB), sexually transmitted diseases and malaria.

She said that the resistance is a threat on the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections and infectious diseases caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi.

Agbim said the threat of AMR is an increasingly serious global public health challenge that requires action across all government and private sectors and the society at large.

"If antibiotics are not effectively administered, or where they are resisted, the success of major surgery and cancer chemotherapy would be grossly compromised.

"This makes the cost of healthcare more expensive and complex for patients with resistant infections; because the duration of illness is longer and entails additional tests and use of more expensive drugs," she said.

She added that factors which aid growth of antibiotic resistance was the spread of the resistant strains of bacteria from person to person, or from the non-human sources in the environment.

Agbim said a lot of people develop multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis each year, and drug resistance is starting to complicate the fight against multi-diseases, especially HIV and even malaria.

She said new resistance mechanisms are emerging and spreading globally, threatening the ability to treat common infectious diseases, resulting in prolonged illness, disability and death.

“Without effective antimicrobials for prevention and treatment of infections, medical procedures such as organ transplantation, cancer chemotherapy, diabetes management and other major surgery would become very risky,’’ she said.

According to her, the foundation is working to carry out advocacy, education, surveillance and promotion of antimicrobial stewardship aligning with the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“The foundation is working with WHO and other partners to strengthen the evidence base policy and advocacy tool and develop new responses to this global threat,’’ she said.