FAO assists Nigeria to curtail antibiotics resistance in animals

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The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to curtail the growing risk of antibiotics resistance in animals.

Mr Suffyan Koroma, FAO Representative in Nigeria, said this at a 3-day technical workshop on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) surveillance for the development of National Guidelines for Animal Health/Agriculture in Abuja.

Koroma said FAO was supporting the government of Nigeria to develop the national guidelines to aid the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) to regulate and ensure responsible use of antimicrobial resistant agents in agriculture and animal health.

According to him, AMR and Antimicrobial Use (AMU) has become a global concern, threatening humans, animals, plants and the environment.

Koromo said this had prompted world political leaders to call on agencies of the United Nations to deploy their expertise to assist governments at regional, national and sub-national levels to combat the threat.

He added that the misuse of antibiotics was often associated with the potential risk of emergence and spread of anti microbial resistant micro organisms.

Koroma said that Africa used an average of 400 tones of antibiotics for agriculture yearly and in livestock and fisheries sector.

He stated that the total consumption of anti microbials was projected to reach 105,000 tons by the end of the next decade.

According to him, FAO is playing a key role in supporting governments at all levels, producers, traders and other stakeholders to move towards the responsible use of antimicrobials in agriculture and helping to reduce AMR in agricultural systems.

FAO and other key partners have supported the development of the national action plan (NAP) for AMR through OneHealth approach.

“FAO partnered with FMARD and NCDC to enhance awareness on antibiotics how they should be used and the growing risks of antibiotic resistance,” he said.

He said that the minister of health had approved the establishment of AMR national surveillance coordinating body domiciled at the NCDC and it has established AMR surveillance structure for human health component for tremendous progress.

He, however, said the surveillance systems for animal health sector did not currently exist in Nigeria, stressing that it became imperative to develop national AMR surveillance systems for animal health components for tracking incidents of AMR.

Mr Olaniran Alabi, the Director Veterinary and Pest Control Services, FMARD, in his opening remark, said antimicrobial usage in food animals was estimated at 63,000 tons annually in 2015 and projected to be 70 per cent in 2030.

Alabi said antimicrobial agents were used in livestock production to ensure good health, productivity and welfare of animals.

He added that the inappropriate use of substandard and falsified drugs in the livestock sector could lead to development of antimicrobials resistance.

He said the various classes of antimicrobial agents import included Tetracyclines, Fluoroquinolones, Macrolides, Penicillin, Sulfonamides, Polypeptides, Aminoglycosides, Amphenicols, Glycopetides, Pleuromutilins and Nitrofurantoin.

Another issue of concern is that antibiotics for use in animals are purchased over the counter without restrictions and no legislation for the use of antimicrobials as growth promoters in Nigeria. But NAFDAC has a generic regulation for the use of antibiotics in animal feed.”

He appealed to FAO, Fleming fund grant, REDISSE project and other sources to support the ministry to strengthen institutional capacities for early AMR detection and trends monitoring in the country.