Government calls for all-hands-on-deck in Antimicrobial Resistance fight

Health minister Douglas Mombeshora said AMR response requires an all-hands-on-deck approach to heighten prevention and control.

Health and Child Care minister Douglas Mombeshora has called for intensified efforts in spreading awareness on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) as it poses a public health threat.

While addressing delegates at the ongoing Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Week in Harare on Tuesday, Mombeshora said AMR response requires an all-hands-on-deck approach to heighten prevention and control.

“During this world Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness week, I call on all Zimbabweans to join the African continent and indeed the world in addressing and arresting one of the biggest public health threats facing humanity, Antimicrobial Resistance.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the health and social well being of all citizens remains high on the agenda of the government of Zimbabwe in line with Vision 2030 as outlined in the National Development Strategy (NDS1), National Health Strategy (2021-2025) and the global Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.

Mombeshora said, in the spirit of leaving none behind, the government of Zimbabwe and his ministry will continue to put in place the necessary policy operational framework and interventions for the prevention and control of Antimicrobial Resistance.

"We must not forget that the AMR response requires a “whole of society approach" hence all of us are called upon to play our part in the prevention and control of Antimicrobial Resistance, “ he said.

Mombeshora thanked development partners represented by the Quadripartite organizations and African Union agencies that are supporting the national Antimicrobial Resistance programme.

Also speaking at the same event, Africa CDC Deputy Director Dr Ahmed Ogwell said, “For us in Africa, AMR is a serious threat to our health security and economic growth. It is estimated that by 2050, millions of people on the continent could be affected if we do not act quickly and decisively. In fact, AMR has already been documented to be a bigger problem than HIV, Malaria and TB combined.”

Ogwell said Antimicrobial Resistance stands as one of the leading public health challenges of the century.

“When we look at the continent of Africa, we document the highest mortality rates from AMR infections resulting in over 27 deaths per 100 000,” he said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified AMR as one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity.

WHO Assistant Regional Director, Lindiwe Makubalo said there is an emerging resistance to treatments of HIV, TB and malaria which is a huge concern in the region.

“Compared to other regions, sub Saharan Africa has the highest AMR associated deaths at 99 deaths per 100,000 far exceeding previous global predictions. Additionally, which is quite a concern, there are over 214,000 neonatal services deaths annually directly attributable to drug resistance pathogens,” she said.

AMR awareness week is a global event, taking place from November 18 to 24 each year and serves as a momentous occasion to raise awareness and take action against the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance.

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