Zimbabwe concerned about increase in antimicrobial resistance


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By Patricia Mashiri

Zimbabwe is concerned bout the significant growth of resistance to infections like TB and malaria, which is generally known as antimicrobial resistance.

The Ministry of Health and Childcare has launched the Zimbabwe Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) National Action Plan and the Situation Analysis Report under the theme “Together as one Health in the Fight against Antimicrobial Resistance”.

The situation analysis report found out that Zimbabwe faces significant and growing resistance in common infections such as TB, malaria, HIV, respiratory infections, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), urinary tract infections (UTIs), meningitis and diarrheal diseases. Even with the latest typhoid outbreak that took place in the country, the people experienced 22% resistance to ciprofloxacin.

One major driver of resistance is the increased antimicrobial consumption in both humans and animals. However the data on antimicrobial use and patterns of AMR in humans and animals in Zimbabwe are limited.

In Zimbabwe there is also lack of meaningful surveillance data to help understand resistance patterns, prevalent organisms and guide policy development.

In his speech on behalf of his superior, Aldrin Masiyiwa the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care said AMR was declared a ‘world health threat’ at the 68th World Health Assembly in 2015 whereby countries were urged to put in place National Action Plans that were in line with Global Action Plans

“The Government of Zimbabwe through the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) core group conducted an analysis of the AMR situation in Zimbabwe in the human, animal, crop and environmental sectors following the ‘One Health’ approach advocated by World Health Organization (WHO), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

“This interest is borne out of the fact that AMR is a cross cutting problem affecting human, animal and the environment that calls for coordinated action across these sectors including society.

“Antimicrobial resistance is soon going to be causing more deaths than the HIV pandemic and TB infections combined in sub Saharan Africa if left unattended,” Parirenyatwa said.

Joseph Made represented by his Permanent Secretary said the majority of the population depends directly and indirectly on the agriculture sectorais one of the most important pillars of the Zimbabwean economy.

He said among the constraints faced in agriculture, dealing with losses due to diseases and pests was an important aspect in maximising efficiency of production in the supply of food and industrial raw materials.

“The use of the antimicrobials in the treatment of various diseases caused by microbiological agents, mainly bacteria, fungi and protozoa is therefore a necessary and important element of agricultural productivity and the safety of food,” Made said.

The partnership included the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development and Environment, Water and Climate