Minister warns against use of antibiotics to promote animal growth

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The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has called for concerted efforts by  relevant agencies  to promote good practices that limits the emergence and spread of resistant infections globally.

The Minister said this this during the official flag- off of the 2020  World Antimicrobial Awareness week celebration in Nigeria in his office, Thursday, November 20.

The Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when disease causative agents such as bacteria become resistant to the actions of antimicrobials which hitherto were known to be susceptible.

The Minister said, “Antibiotics use in Agriculture has been found to be a major driver of AMR with consequences on human health, animal health, plant health and food safety.

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”Livestock farmers use antibiotics as growth promoters and egg boosters, especially in places where regulation is poor and antibiotics can be purchased without a prescription. Also, as humans , we are always self-medicating with inappropriate amounts of antibiotics to try to get well”.

The Minister appealed to Nigerian farmers not to use antibiotics to promote growth in animals. “To our Farmers, don’t use antibiotics to promote growth in animals. Antibiotics should only be used when prescribed by a Veterinary professional, for the duration indicated and withdrawal period must be observed. Vaccinations, biosecurity measures and good animal husbandry practices will reduce infections and use of antibiotics in livestock”.

He urged the veterinary professionals to use antimicrobials responsibly and prudently especially in food producing animals. Antibiotics should only be prescribed if they are really needed to treat infections in animals.

He also urged pharmaceutical companies, to be responsible and accountable in the marketing, supply and distribution of antimicrobials.

According to him, “let us wash our hands regularly and thoroughly to stop germs from spreading. Don’t pressurize your doctor to prescribe antibiotics if they’re not needed. And if you really do need them, make sure to always follow your doctor’s advice on the right course of treatment”.

The Minister expressed the need for urgency in tackling the spread, stating, “We can no longer ignore the urgency and gravity of this issue. If we don’t tackle this urgently, decades of advances in health and medicine are at risk of being undone”.

He further said “Resistance to antibiotics and other antimicrobial drugs is one of the most significant threats to global health, food security, and global development in general. Antimicrobial resistance occurs naturally, but misuse of antimicrobials in humans and animals is accelerating the process. Globally, we are running out of effective antibiotics.

In his remarks, the representative of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Country Representative to Nigeria, Mr. David Fehintola said that “the antimicrobial resistance is happening here and now and it is affecting us all. He said for many years, antimicrobial medicines have been overuse and misused, FAO and WHO reports indicate that around the world, people, plants and animals are dying from infections that cannot be treated even with our strongest antimicrobial treatments”.

Daily Times reports that the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) is an annual event held every November since 2015.The week was instituted by the tripartite organizations – World Health Organization (WHO), World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

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