‘Misuse of antibiotics may cause 10 million deaths a year by 2050′

By Adelola Amihere

The misuse of antibiotics resulting in Antimicrobial Resistant (AMR) could cause 10 million deaths a year by 2050 if left unchecked, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO, and the World Health Organisation, WHO has warned

FAO’s representative in Nigeria and ECOWAS, Fred Kafeero, at the inauguration of the World Anti-Microbial Awareness Week, in Abuja, explained that the trend may force tens of millions more people into extreme poverty, hunger, malnutrition and also cripple livelihood.

He noted that 700,000 die globally every year due to drug-resistant diseases explaining that if not addressed, drug-resistant infections could join pandemics, cardiovascular disease and cancer as a leading cause of death by 2050.

Kafeero who was represented by the Assistant FAO Representative Administration, Mr David Fehintola said the global economy may lose nearly four percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) due to AMR.

According to him, “AMR is spreading faster everyday and hence continue to wreck havoc unto human society.

“In Nigeria, antibiotics used in animals and plants are purchased off the counter without expert prescription, this is coupled with the absence of statutory legislation to restrict the use of antimicrobial as growth promoters”.

On his part, the Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said a major challenge for the agricultural sector will be to optimise antimicrobial use to support animal health without negatively impacting productivity and unduly limiting access to the food supply and jeopardizing National food security.

Represented by the Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Prevention and Control Programme Coordinator, Dr. Tochi Okwor, he reiterated the need for more coordination and consolidation on efforts across all sectors.

“In recent times, medicines used to treat many types of infections and diseases are no longer effective because of antimicrobial resistance.

“We are losing one of the most important pillars of modern medicine which is the ability to treat infections. The current COVID-19 pandemic threatens to set us back even further,” he lamented.

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