World Antimicrobial Resistance Week (WAAW)

By Tafara R. Dandadzi*

The World Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Week (WAAW) is set to take place, November 18th to 24th 2020. So what is Antimicrobial Resistance, and why should we be concerned about it, especially in a time that the world is dealing with a pandemic?

Antimicrobial Resistance is the unfortunate situation when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites resist the antimicrobial medications which are available for safe human consumption, making it harder to treat common infections like cholera, malaria, typhoid, TB and HIV. The main cause of AMR is the overuse and misuse of antibiotics. 

There has been growing concern about the use of antibiotics in the agricultural industry, particularly in meat and milk production, with 80% of global antibiotic use being administered in the agricultural sector as growth hormones. The same antibiotics administered to animals, are also used by humans, hence the emergence of AMR, as a result of AMR passing from animals to humans, through food consumption. 

The emergence of AMR is a major public health threat and requires the political will of all governments to tackle it. The Africa Union Center for Disease Control, has embarked on an ambitious drive to tackle the emergence of AMR, through partnering and engaging with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). CYNESA is a pioneering CSO participating in the drive to raise AMR awareness within its networks, with particular emphasis on Catholic youth in Africa, Catholic tertiary students and the Catholic clergy and religious. 

The theme for this year’s World Antimicrobial Awareness Week human sector is “United to preserve antimicrobials”.

Many young people in Africa are not aware of AMR and therefore, as CYNESA, we seek to participate in raising awareness in a bid to save lives. The current trend of AMR indicates over 750000 AMR related deaths per annum, and projections indicate that by 2050, we could be averaging over 10 million AMR related deaths per year.

Our time to act is now, let us eat and live healthy.  Antimicrobial resistance is real.

Tafara R. Dandadzi is AMR champion and the CYNESA Deputy Executive Director coordinating the Southern Africa region.


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