Government through the Ministry of Health and Child Care has joined forces with Medicines Control of Zimbabwe, African Treatment Access Movement and the Veterinary Public Health in an effort to develop an antimicrobial resistance one health national action plan for the country.
This emerged at a stakeholder meeting running under the theme Development of Anti-microbial Resistance One Health Action Plan for Zimbabwe held in Harare on Wednesday.
The action plan follows an emergence of resistance to the antimicrobials by pathogenic bacteria, a move which has caused global health crisis.
In an effort to deal with the problem, Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Aldrin Musiiwa said government has commissioned a national response team which will stipulate how the country will prevent, detect and contain anti-microbial resistance.
“My ministry has commissioned a national anti-microbial resistance core team to guide the country in the one health approach to anti-microbial resistance,” Musiiwa said.
Antimicrobial resistance is the ability of microbes to grow in the presence of a chemical (drug) that would normally kill them or limit their growth. Antimicrobial resistance makes it harder to eliminate infections from the body as existing drugs become less effective.
Dr Musiiwa said that the meeting was born out of the skyrocketing number of patients that are resilient to antibiotics.
This meeting is very crucial not only to the health sector but to the human kind,“ said Dr Musiiwa. He added that his ministry has noted emerging cases of multiple drug resistance from TB resistance to malaria medicines and resistance to first or second line medicines for HIV, forcing them to change to more expensive medications.
Reports indicate that nearly 700 000 people around the world die each year because of drug resistance.
Dr Musiiwa further said that Antimicrobial agents have saved millions of lives and improved the outcomes for countless patients since these medicines were introduced in the 1930s.
“The introduction of these antimicrobial can be dated back to the 1930s and has saved the lives of many people,” he said.
Project coordinator of the Antimicrobial project, Dr Pamela Woods said that the project is a one health project targeting human beings and animals in Zimbabwe.
“This is for both human beings and animals for both are being affected by the microbial bugs,” said Woods adding that the bugs spread from human beings to animals.
She also said these bugs might affect one if they fail use medication correctly or fail to finish the course prescribed by medical practitioners.
Newman Madzikwa, the deputy director of pharmacy services with the ministry of Health and Child Care said that the idea of the project is to combat the generation of microbial resistance.
“What we trying to do here is to fight the generation of microbial resistance, which is why we joined hands with the Veterinary service.