Story by Abigirl Tembo, Health Editor
Health experts, policymakers, researchers and stakeholders from the African continent are meeting in Harare for the Continental World Antimicrobial Resistance Week aimed at addressing the critical issue of anti-microbial resistance and its impact on public health.
The quadripartite partners of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), have partnered African Union agencies – Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU IBAR) together with the Government of Zimbabwe, in hosting the continental celebration of the World Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Awareness Week.
In a media briefing which marked the start of the seven-day commemorations this Saturday, several speakers emphasised the importance of collective action to address the global health challenge of antimicrobial resistance.
“The AMR week is not just one of those day. I think it’s a day when we come to remind ourselves that the actions that we need to take are everyday actions and not just something for once a year. We need to be able to ensure that people understand what AMR is what some of its route causes are so that we can begin to see how we work together to addressing it,” said World AMR Awareness Week secretary, Dr Walter Fuller.
“What we share here will definitely serve as catalysts to raising awareness about AMR and its global health implications. It has become evident that AMR is a multifaceted and pressing issue that demands the collective efforts from all sectors of society therefore it is imperative that we continue to collaborate in addressing the misuse and overuse of antibiotics promote responsible stewardship, investing in research and development of new antimicrobial treatment as well as strengthening our surveillance systems to combat AMR effectively,” noted Dr Rudo Chikodzire from the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
Antimicrobial resistance 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.
The conference, which will run until Friday the 24th, will also highlight successful initiatives and projects from different African countries, showcasing their efforts in combating AMR and inspiring others to take action.